Building a distributed living lab: online environments for leveraging collective intelligence to create new worlds


16.00 – 17.30,  3 September 


To explore how to leverage distributed collective intelligence in enriching online working environments, and how to effectively use these online environments to address real-world issues


Living labs provide collaborative frameworks to define common objectives, develop new knowledge, and explore options for collaborative action.
They are ecosystems to catalyze social, technological, business and policy innovation, and citizen engagement. Often, they operate within geographic and cultural arenas, harnessing collective intelligence in one city, region or country. But most societal challenges are not limited by these borders. Can we also work together effectively across borders? This is what distributed living labs could do. This workshop asks: How could a Distributed Living Lab add value – working in different countries on shared issues at the same time? How would it work? The workshop looks at a number of initial steps that the Global Lab for Climate Resilience is taking to discover how to do this. Post-Corona, the specific context is working online, and enriching, effective online environments are needed. Can online environments be as effective as physical ones? Many questions arise: one environment for everyone? The same one for all cultures? Are their gender differences? Generational differences? The workshop addresses issues like these in an participative way.


How can we leverage distributed collective intelligence in enriching online working environments, and effectively use these environments to address real-world issues across borders of all kinds?
In post-Corona times, there will be far greater use of online working environments for addressing societal challenges. Online environments for collective intelligence are shared contexts for achieving specific objectives: creating safe spaces for sharing ideas, provocation zones for ‘going beyond’, spaces for exploring the unknown, spaces for divergence, convergence, decision-making, prototyping. For each purpose, particular shared contexts may work best. But which ones?
In this workshop, initial experiments with several interactive tools for creating shared contexts for collaborative innovation will be described, and participants can experience them. The workshop provides examples, poses questions and invites participants to contribute examples and questions of their own. The objective is to share ideas, co-create new knowledge about what distributed living labs could do, and contribute to building a new Living Lab concept that people can take away and experiment with on their own.



Participants will open up new opportunities to organise online workspaces for working together, and take away the experience of using some tools they could use afterwards in their own work. More than that, they will have a concrete invitation to continue the workshop-experience after the DLLD, joining others around the world in co-creating promising prototypes of Distributed Living Labs.


The workshop will enrich the thinking and practice of participants by posing provocative questions and practical tools for addressing issues participants face in their own Living Lab practice. Our initiative to develop a distributed living lab is an open work-in-progress, and this workshop invites participants to join the Global Lab and for 90 minutes actively engage with challenging questions about orchestrating online collaborative innovation and transnational cooperation, generating new insights and new knowledge that could impact the quality of their work.


  •  Overview workshop program & short introduction participants
  • Contexts and issues for distributed living labs: Why we need distributed living labs, collaborative cross-border innovation, creating shared contexts for innovation, post-Corona realities, leveraging distributed collective intelligence across cultures, practical micro-prototyping (Plenary presentation with slides) What would a distributed living lab look like? How would it work? (interactive discussion in small groups)
  • Examples participants know
    – What value would it add to your work?
    – How would it work?
  • Sharing feedback from the small group discussions
  • Global Lab for Climate Resilience: Experiences and experiments with online tools in specific environments (Plenary presentation with slides)
  • Demo of 2 tools: interactive experience).
  • Participants experience 2 GL tools
  • Research explorations: What are the real (deeper) issues-behind-the-issues?
  • Emergence Rooms: How can this be turned into an idea for a concrete project?
  • Questions: My questions, your questions (interactive discussion in small groups)
  • Conclusions and next steps


The workshop is intended for people who work in Living Labs and organisations that are working on issues and challenges that span borders and boundaries of various kinds. It is interesting for people who want to work on collaborative innovation addressing societal challenges. They may have good experience in doing this face-to-face, in the physical world, and if they are interested in thinking together about ways of doing this online, working together on similar issues in different countries at the same time, this workshop will appeal to them.