Triple Helix Engagement with Users: Findings From A Survey of the European Network of Living Labs

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Living labs, defined as a “collection of people, equipment, services and technology to provide a test platform for research and experiments”, offer much promise in engaging with users to create new products and services. However, they are not widely understood outside some of the academic departments in which the concepts underlying them have been developed. The purpose of this study was to provide information about the phenomenon of living labs by asking the labs themselves to provide fundamental information of this position, outlook and relationships with users and related stakeholders in triple-helix partnerships comprising academia, public sector and private business.The approach of the study was to design and conduct a survey using an electronic Internet-based survey tool. The survey was designed to provide quantitative information about number of users involved in each living lab, for example. However, the survey also probed the labs to provide more detailed response to questions exploring qualitative aspects. The survey request was sent to all extant living labs that provided some form of email address as a form of contact. 56 living labs responded, comprising a response rate of 29%.This study is believed to be the first major survey undertaken of living labs since the European Network of Living Labs was established in Espoo, Finland in 2006. A key value of the study is that it provides a baseline against which future studies can compare results. It also provides very interesting findings about the diversity of living labs, how they engage with users and how strong the relationships are between living labs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-70
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation in the Digital Economy,
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2014


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