Northern Connections

The Living Lab Approach - Relevance for cities

13 March 2019 - Published by Anne Katrine Arentsen
Cooperation between clusters from different countries are important for growth and innovation. But why? And why is the Living Lab Approach relevant for cities?

Our living lab events are facilitated meeting grounds for clusters and companies. It is the materialisation of a long cooperation process between clusters, where they have identified potential suppliers and innovation partners across different countries to the challenges of a specific city.  

For cities to act as the challenge owner, it is a great way for us to execute market dialogue covering several countries at the same time – and have the clusters make the first screening of the companies. Take a look at the Gothenburg living lab example.

As a city, we face major challenges in identifying potential suppliers for an innovation partnership. We are familiar with the “usual suspects” and we can also make an EU tender calling for companies to deliver certain specific solutions. But entering the process of market dialogue with potential companies to identify solutions available in the market is a challenge. Especially finding companies outside our own region is a challenge since we do not have the channels to contact them.

This is where transnational cluster cooperation proves its added value. With our clusters cooperating and jointly identifying and screening companies, we can easier identify potential innovation partners that can bring us that extra mile for innovative solutions. The living lab approach targets our specific challenge and a search for specific competences and knowledge matching that challenge.

Therefore, we see great potential in the Living Lab approach – it gives us a framework for a micro-market dialogue and for identifying companies, internationally, for innovation partnerships. And it gives us a small-scale forum for making our innovation challenges specific and concrete – and getting feedback from the market.