Culture of Services

Culture of Services

Adamantios Koumpis
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-683-9.ch010
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How do all different types of services affect the reality and routine of the service consumer / user? What cultural effects can we recognize to the community or the individuals? What are the cultural aspects of any newly introduced service? And how these can positively or negatively affect the society at large? In this chapter the author presents results of a research exercise related with the building of services for a collaborative community environment for experiential learning in medical emergencies. Extensive use of the Living Labs methodology has been made and is reported and related with the presented framework. The final part of this chapter is devoted to configuration aspects of the collaborative service environment.
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Comparison Of A Service Framework With The Living Labs Modelling Technique

A recent aim of the European Commission is to support the pan-European creation of Living Labs as new forms of cooperation between government, enterprises, citizens and academia for a successful transfer of e-Government, e-Democracy and e-Services as well as other state-of-the-art applications, solutions, know-how and best practices.

Quoting the European Commission, “Innovation takes place when knowing what the market wants is brought together with knowing how to do it, in a new context” (CEC, 2005).

The Living Labs concept is not new at all – the author together with a long-time partner and good friend in research projects, Dr Francesco Molinari, have been working in this area using a somewhat different code name – ‘testbed Europe’ was the term we were using back in 200x. Living Labs are about moving research and development activities out of laboratories and into real-life contexts. In the past years, a number of national experiences can be mentioned across Western Europe1.

Furthermore, on November 21st, 2006, the Finnish EU Presidency has launched a European Network of Living Labs for the “co-creation of innovation in public, private and civic partnership”. This has been the first step towards a new European Innovation System, entailing a major paradigm shift for the whole innovation process.

But let’s look at what exactly is a Living Lab and why we compare it as a related technique to a service framework and how this has an impact on the culture of the underlying services.

A European Network of Living Labs is a collaboration of Public Private Partnerships where firms, public authorities and people work together in creating, prototyping, validating and testing new services, businesses, markets and technologies in real-life contexts, such as cities, city regions, rural areas and collaborative virtual networks between public and private players.

The real-life and everyday life contexts both stimulate and challenge research and development as public authorities and citizens do not only participate in, but also contribute to the whole innovation process.

From a market and industrial perspective, Living Labs offer a research and innovation platform over different social and cultural systems, cross-regionally and cross-nationally. This is a natural move for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), life sciences and any innovation domain that deals with human and social problem solving and people’s every day lives. However, this new approach to research for innovation is a huge challenge for research methodologies, innovation process management, public-private partnership models, IPRs, open source practices, development of new leadership, governance and financial instruments.

This complexity increases remarkably with the international nature of a European Network of Living Labs, implying a set of large-scale experimentation platforms for new services, business and technology, market and industry creation within ICT environment.

The essential feature of a Living Lab is the consideration of users feedback and experience as an integral part of the testbed itself. European research has known the operational value of Living Labs methodology in 3 main areas so far:

  • 1.

    Bringing laboratory based technology testbeds into real-life, user focused validation environments;

  • 2.

    Developing mobility services for citizens in a real-world early adapter community with existing and close to market technologies;

  • 3.

    Studying the collaborative working environments of the future from a pan-European perspective.

In all cases, the main focus has been on a user centred, context sensitive, multi-site and multi-stakeholder co-design or co-creation process, supported by mutual trust and implying the joint consideration of policy, market, societal and technological aspect with equal weight, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Human centric systemic innovation approach (adapted from Eriksson et al, 2005)


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