Living Labs present an opportunity to deploy the open innovation paradigm in a transparent, flexible and multi-stakeholder way. They can be defined as a R&D concept, a user-centric methodology for prototyping and validating innovations in complex, real-life environments. They enable co-creation to deliver optimal solutions to citizens focused challenges. Often, they are deployed in a territorial context, city (or part of) or region. Living Labs are based on the quadruple-helix approach to innovation, with a particular focus on civil society engagement. They can be user-oriented, user-integrating and sustainability services (Sustainable Development Goals, SDG) oriented. They combine open innovation and user engagement processes, making it possible for new solutions to be developed. They offer tools to local, regional, and national authorities to help them develop and validate solutions to significant societal challenges.
It is crucial to engage the public and all stakeholders if the European Green Deal is to succeed in reaching climate neutrality by 2050.
With its strategic position at the interface between policy making and academia, its open policy and its unique infrastructures, the JRC can act as an optimal living lab to support the conceptualization and development of future urban ecosystems. The creation of a Living Lab at the JRC Ispra and Petten site will enhance its input to EU policy-making, particularly in the areas of transport and energy, with the insights gained from field tests and demonstration activities.
A JRC living lab can test the effectiveness and implications of innovative solutions in the mobility sector as well as in other sectors (e.g. energy, water, waste management, security etc.).
It can also support European start-ups and SMEs testing new smart-city technologies in a safe, controlled and real environment, using these experiments to create new narratives and stimulating broader discussion on the role of the new solutions to shape the future of cities and the urban landscape. Furthermore, it can network with other Living Labs by sharing test data and results (if not protected), addressing issues of common concern (e.g. related to privacy) and leveraging the potential for uptake, thanks to a wider community.
The aforementioned actions will develop the JRC's profile as a Living Lab for new smart city technologies, service models and participatory approaches, as a showcase for city mayors, local and regional authorities and the citizens at large. JRC can also address the current limitations of existing living labs and bring the concept much closer to the policy, academic and industrial realms, contributing to turning it into a real tool in the future policy making process.
The JRC FMS-Lab applies stakehoder and Citizen Engagement methodologies such as focus groups, surveys, interviews, material deliberation methods, etc. as well as experimental methods like laboratory testing, field tests, VR testing, etc.