Thursday Research Papers

Chairs for Topic of Digital Social Innovation

Dr. Dimitri Schuurman – imec

  • Social innovation and digital rights
  • Social impact of AI
  • Replicability and scalability of Digital Social Innovation initiatives at a wider scale
  • New practices to reduce Regional and International investment struggles in Digital social innovation and digital skills shortages
  • New models to boost collaboration and knowledge-sharing between different regions, cities and socio-cultural contexts to increase the implementation of Digital social innovation
  • Methodologies for evaluating the impact of digital social innovations on citizens and final users
  • New models models for growth and sustainability of Digital social innovation

Chairs for Living Labs for a Greener Future

Josep Maria Salanova Grau – Head of the data analysis & modelling laboratory at CERTH-HIT

  • Decarbonization and Sustainable Development
  • Earth Science and Climate Change policies
  • Innovation Models for increasing Energy efficiency
  • Regenerative Agriculture to Reverse Climate Change
  • Environmental monitoring and management through LL methodologies
  • Circular Economy practices and innovative business models
  • Climate Change challenges and innovative models for sustainable product-service-systems
  • Green Economy & Human Health
  • Open innovation models for renewable energy
  • Mitigation and adaptation models for reducing Climate Change
  • Mobility for climate change adaptation
  • Supply chain and logistics for circular economy
  • Business models supporting new mobility services

Co-creating a Living Lab for Sustainable Community Engagement

by Kyosuke Sakakura

Track:  Full Research Paper

Topic: Digital Social Innovation, Urban & Rural Resilience and Challenges for Living Labs


  • Urban Living Lab
  • Co-creation
  • Resident involvement
  • Community Engagement
  • Oyamachi Living Lab

Abstract. This study will propose the co-creation of living labs as a method for fostering a sustainable and proactive community of participants based on the idea of relational community engagement, and verify the effectiveness of the method through action research on the implementation of the Oyamachi Living Lab in residential areas of Tokyo.


The Urban Living Lab as tool for introducing circularity in the everyday life of vulnerable neighbourhoods: Case study Kerkrade-West, the Netherlands

by Stefano Blezer, Marijn van de Weijer and Nurhan Abujidi

Track:  Full Research Paper

TopicDigital Social Innovation and Urban & Rural Resilience 


  • Urban Living Labs
  • Vulnerable neighbourhoods
  • Urban Circular Economy
  • Neighbourhood revitalization

Abstract The United Nations SDGs are a global framework towards a better world in 2030 including provision of basic human needs and tackling complex societal challenges that require sustainability transitions and changes in current socio-technical systems. One particular challenge is an urban circular economy transition that is currently mainly explored from a sectoral and technological point of view, leaving behind the socio-spatial and socio-cultural perspective. This study, therefore, explores the role of ULLs and the introduction of sustainability concepts in a socially vulnerable neighbourhood and its public space in Kerkrade-West, the Netherlands. Vulnerability refers to a mix of physical, socio-economic, and cultural challenges that weigh on the overall quality of life in a neighbourhood where inhabitants are concerned about everyday livelihood rather than sustainability practices. A three-year urban design workshop cycle with local urban stakeholders, citizens and students addresses the urban circular economy transition by combining urban design with socio-historic neighbourhood structures and the introduction of sustainability concepts in public space. As such, the workshop cycle provides three lessons to contribute to the urban circular transition: 1) lower the threshold of the circularity concept by introducing it in public space rather than framing it as a private and business concept only. 2) ULLs provide a tool to combine and bridge global sustainability concepts with everyday livelihood in vulnerable neighbourhoods by proper embeddedness in local context and dialogue with inhabitants. 3) The social value of circularity (and other sustainability concepts) are a tactic for neighbourhood revitalization that builds upon and improves local socio-spatial values.

To conclude, we argue that the challenges to transition towards more circular economy models is mainly a social-cultural one, and requires a shift in the way we explore, disseminate and integrate circular practises as well as perceive notions such as ‘circularity’ in urban development and the daily lives of citizens, especially in vulnerable neighbourhoods.



Living lab as the cluster of innovating, valorising and internationalising of the higher education sector

by Jungyoon Yang and Dr. Jieun Seong

Track:  Practitioners Presentation

TopicsDigital Social Innovation and Challenges for Living Labs


  • Transnational living lab
  • Higher education living lab
  • International collaboration
  • National agenda for enhancing higher education
  • Academic-industries collaboration
  • Integrating co-creation to international living lab collaboration
  • Social innovation and living lab projects

Abstract. The collaboration of university initiative living lab projects between Korea and the Netherlands has been raised to the level of most important innovation. The development of the living lab shifted from the international ties of education and research to the national agenda for the future of higher education and conversion and diversion towards a circular and sustainable economy. Especially, the Linc+ project, which is funded by the Korean Ministry of Education to accelerate academic-industrial collaboration, launched the Korea universities’ living lab network, comprising over 45 universities, and strengthened the international co-creation platform with Dutch universities through living lab projects, such as serious game design, smart aging, and social innovation. This mutual collaboration has benefited the creation of spaces for talents, quality education and research, ambitions for internationalisation, and led to the higher impact of living lab projects contributing to the solution of future societal problems. This paper will demonstrate the successful procedure of the living lab collaborations between Dutch and Korean universities, and the solidarity of the diverse strategies behind the multiple stakeholders, including government institutes, policy makers, universities, local authorities, coordinators, facilitators and connectors. The key factors of this international collaboration are based on the segmentation of the living lab sectors for clear vision and interests, targeting future-oriented needs, developing online platform and maintaining its continuity after the pandemic era. 



Co-Creation During COVID: Lessons and Unexpected Benefits of a Sudden Shift to Co-Creation in Virtual Environments

by Chris McPhee

Track: Practitioners Presentation

Topic: Urban & Rural resilience


  • Agriculture
  •  Agroecosystem living labs
  • Co-creation
  • Workshops
  • Virtual

Abstract Lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a sudden and widespread shift to working in virtual environments. This shift posed substantial challenges to living labs that depended on in-person co-creation workshops to bring together users and other partners to drive the innovation process. Within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Living Laboratories Initiative, these challenges were particularly acute given the unique characteristics of agroecosystem living labs, including the remote locations of users (farmers), a frequent lack of reliable internet access in rural areas, and the time pressures of impending and immoveable deadlines imposed by the growing season. This presentation will share the experiences and adaptations that were made to living lab co-creation approaches in response to a global crises. Examples of solutions used across the network and in the launch of the new program included direct translations of in-person workshop formats to virtual environments, in-situ Zoom hosting on mobile devices in farmer’s fields, and hybrid events where limited in-person gatherings were allowed. The lessons learned in this context will be of interest to others who need to adapt their processes in response to unique new challenges. However, this experience also demonstrates how the crisis forced process improvements whose benefits extend beyond the crisis itself and revealed additional benefits and solutions to pre-existing challenges.



Towards an XAI alignment workshop: a practice-oriented, multi-stakeholder approach for human-centred AI explanations

by Jonne Van Belle and An Jacobs

Track:  Research In Progress Paper 

Topic: Digital Social Innovation


  • Explainable AI

  • Trustworthy AI

  • Human-centred design

  • Research-practice gap

  • Fairness

Abstract: The field of Explainable AI (XAI) aims to find ways to create understandable and transparent AI systems to promote fairness, prevent bias and to make dealing with the systems easier. In our research we expand upon the existing approaches from a living labs, human-computer interaction and design perspective. We present the XAI alignment workshop and its train-the-trainer concept as the first step of a holistic development methodology for human-centred explainable AI. Our aim is twofold: we focus (1) on how to make AI explanations more human-centred and (2) on how to support practitioners in doing so, since most systems that will affect the lives of people are created by professionals within a business context. To bridge the gap between research and practice, we are developing the workshop through case studies, and we created the train-the-trainer concept to try to empower practitioners to take ownership over the materials and build a more human-centred, inclusive and transparent way of working within their AI projects.



Milan's ULL co-design pathway to spread green roofs and walls throughout the city

by Israa Mahmoud, Iliriana Sejdullahu and Eugenio Morello

Track:  Research In Progress Paper

Topic: Living Labs for a Greener Future and Urban & Rural resilience


  • Co-creation
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Greening Cities
  • Urban Living Lab

Abstract Through a shared governance approach, the city of Milan is adopting a co-design process that involves citizens and their preferences in designing green roofs and walls throughout the city. This process is supported by the CLEVER Cities project co-creation pathway that fosters the engagement of residents and local stakeholders in leading the Urban Living Lab (ULL) in a collaborative environment towards implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). In this short research in progress article, we emphasize the different workshops of co-design held digitally due to latest health emergency, COVID-19, whereas various instruments and tools were tested and implemented with citizens as residents in their own buildings. The current ongoing results yield on the evolvement of the ULL looking at its spatial challenges, flexibility, citizen engagement dynamics as well as stakeholders decision-making mechanism.