Design Study for the Living Lab Research Infrastructure to Research Human Interaction with, and Stimulate the Adoption of, Sustainable, Smart and Healthy Innovations around the Home

  • Project no.3426
  • Duration 01/2008 - 12/2009

The project's aim is to develop a design study of a future European research infrastructure that researches the acceptance and the human interaction with, and stimulates the adoption of sustainable, smart and healthy innovations around the home.

Living Labs address some of the difficulties that occur in the course of an innovation process. Worldwide, 85 percent of development efforts are spent on products and services that never reach the market. At the same time, the experts often totally underestimate the market potential of many products and services. Living Labs are an approach to stimulate user-driven innovation, which can lead to a better understanding of customer needs and thus to more successful innovations.

This approach is particularly important in the field of the so-called eco-innovations designed to respond problems like climate change and increasing resource use fast and efficiently. Also other trends like e.g. the demographic change or a developing tendency of individualisation represent a new challenge with regard to a profound understanding of customers.

The LIVING LAB infrastructure will be designed out of different elements. Based on a network of stake-holders from academia, business and government it offers a three-step research portfolio:

  • Insight generation in existing homes, monitoring living behaviour over an extended period of time and getting real-life observation results.
  • Alpha-testing of prototypes of sustainable innovations, taking place in lab houses. Those modular, highly flexible dwellings enable testing of building-integrated systems as well as products of daily use, both installation and user experiences are considered.
  • Evaluating fully functional prototypes in the field, i.e. in existing or newly built homes. Again, this testing will take place over a prolonged period of time.

New research methods will be developed in the context of LIVING-LAB projects in order to gain experience and data on innovations which are able to reduce resource use in households, e.g. so-called Open Innovation Sessions.

Within the European pool, the Wuppertal Institute represents the consumption and sustainability research and acts as moderator and integrator for the different participating expert disciplines. Based on a focused foresight process it has elaborated an intersectoral research profile and strategy.

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