A Guide to Online Applications for User Involvement in Living Lab Innovation

A Guide to Online Applications for User Involvement in Living Lab Innovation

Asbjørn Følstad, Amela Karahasanovic
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4062-7.ch003
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The use of Living Labs is gaining importance as an approach to involve users in innovation and development, serving to make users active participants in the development of the networked society. However, Living Labs are currently not taking full advantage of online applications to support user involvement, even though such applications are gaining impact in other fields of innovation. The purpose of this chapter is to: (i) present a framework to classify and relate online applications for user involvement to the Living Lab context and (ii) present a set of guidelines for the usage of such applications within Living Labs. The framework and the guidelines are the results of a collaborative process involving seven Living Lab researchers from four Nordic Living Labs and are meant to guide Living Lab administrators on whether or how to use online applications for user involvement. The framework and the guidelines might also be useful for the designers of online applications.
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The use of Living Labs is a relatively new approach to the involvement of users in innovation and development processes (Schumacher & Niitamo, 2008). In the field of ICT development, Living Labs have been defined as environments for innovation and development in which users are exposed to new ICT solutions in (semi)-realistic contexts as part of medium- or long-term studies (Følstad, 2008a). Consequently, Living Labs are of high relevance to innovation and development in the networked society. The Living Lab approach has received much interest over the last few years. This is particularly seen in the growth of the European Network of Living Labs (http://sociall.origo.no), which ran from 2010 to 2012. As an introductory activity in the project, we saw the need to establish a framework to classify social software for co-creation purposes. In order not to be unnecessarily restrictive and thereby possibly limit the relevance of the framework, we scoped the process leading to the framework to include both social and non-social applications for online user involvement in innovation processes.

The structure of this chapter is as follows: We first present the existing background on online user involvement in development and innovation processes. Then, we specify the objectives for the framework, describe the approach for its establishment, and present the framework. This is followed by the guidelines for using online applications within the Living Lab context. Finally, we discuss needs and possibilities for future research and development related to Living Labs and give some concluding remarks.

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