November 2013 Download this article as a PDF

From the Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the November issue of the Technology Innovation Management Review. This month’s theme is Living Labs, and it is my pleasure to welcome our guest editors, Seppo Leminen, Principal Lecturer at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at Aalto University in Finland, and Mika Westerlund, Assistant Professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, Canada. In this issue, our guest editors revisit the theme we covered in our popular September 2012 issue on Living Labs.

December's issue will include additional articles on the topics of living labs as well as crowdsourcing, along with a report on a recent TIM Lecture by Stoyan Tanev, Associate Professor in the Department of Technology and Innovation at the University of Southern Denmark, titled: "Technology Adoption by Design: Insights for Entrepreneurs". As I did last December, I will also list our most popular articles from the past year. In January, we present our annual issue on Open Source Business, which will be followed by an issue on Cybersecurity in February.

I am also pleased to announce the publication of our third ebook: Value Co-Creation: Best of TIM Review, which features 16 of the best articles from the TIM Review, selected and introduced by Stoyan Tanev and Marko Seppä. We are grateful to Adam Chowaniec, CEO of Amiga2, for contributing the insightful foreword to this third book in our series. Note that all of the net proceeds from the sales of these ebooks will be used to offset the operational costs of publishing the TIM Review, so we ask you to help spread the word within and beyond your networks.

We hope you enjoy this issue of the TIM Review and will share your comments online. Please contact us with article topics and submissions, suggestions for future themes, and any other feedback.

Chris McPhee

From the Guest Editors

We are pleased to introduce this issue on the theme of Living Labs. Since our first issue on this theme was published in September 2012, the concept of living labs has kept evolving and has become accepted by more and more practitioners and researchers.

Prior literature suggests several benefits for utilizing living labs. They have been proposed to catalyze regional systems of innovation, to strengthen the innovation capacity of organizations, to make innovation processes more effective, to cut innovation costs by sharing resources, to reduce market-based risk, and to enhance sustainable solution development. Living labs can be seen as the latest stage on a continuum of versatile forms of open and user innovation (cf. Leminen et al., 2012). The topic deserves more attention because of the mounting interest in living labs from innovators and policymakers and due to the increasing role of users in contemporary innovation practices.

This issue of TIM Review provides five theoretically and practically oriented articles for managers and innovation developers as well as researchers and other parties of interest. The selected articles address living lab activities taking place today in different European countries and introduce a variety of perspectives, frameworks, and categorizations of the living lab phenomenon. In particular, the articles put forward five different perspectives on living labs: network, design, regional development, open innovation, and service. We encourage readers to perceive the provided views as globally beneficial ways of involving users in innovation rather than as the "European school" of living lab thinking.

The first article is by Seppo Leminen, who takes a network perspective and introduces a framework of innovation mechanisms in living labs. The framework builds on different coordination and participation approaches in living lab networks and provides evidence on their prevalence through cases from four countries. The article concludes by delivering opportunities for practitioners to enhance innovation in living labs and calls for more research on the longitudinal examination of living lab networks.

The second article is by Paula Femeniás and Pernilla Hagbert from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. They explore sustainable living in terms of reduced energy and resource use. The article assumes a design perspective and describes a first step towards a strategy for using living labs as a means to foster innovation and develop new concepts of sustainable living from an architectural point of view. The authors introduce Habitation Lab, a form of design studio for radical experimentation between different stakeholders in the context of architecture.

In the third article, Soile Juujärvi and Kaija Pesso, from Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland, take a regional development perspective and examine the characteristics and success factors of urban living labs based on a case study in Finland. City centres and neighbourhoods have increasingly been serving as regional living labs. This article takes the perspective of a regional innovation system in exploring the needs of urban residents. The authors reveal various actor roles and conclude that urban living labs require a long-term perspective to succeed.

In the fourth article, Dimitri Schuurman, Lieven De Marez, and Pieter Ballon, from the iMinds Media & ICT research group in Belgium, adopt the open innovation perspective to analyze knowledge spill-overs between actors in living labs. The article is based on case studies from a living lab in Belgium. It makes a significant contribution to the discussion on the role of three open innovation processes in living labs: exploration, exploitation, and retention. Finally, a concrete set of guidelines is proposed to foster innovation in living labs.

The fifth article is by Anna Ståhlbröst from Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, who provides a service perspective on innovation in living labs. Her research is grounded by interviews with micro-enterprises that have utilized living lab services to ideate, create, and test innovations. The author highlights the benefits of living lab services and collaboration for small firms that lack resources. The study puts forward that using a living lab as a service can generate three types of value: improved innovations, the role the living lab can play, and the support the living lab offers.

Taken together, we hope that the diverse perspectives offered in these articles will help you better understand the phenomenon of living labs and realize its benefits in your own organization.

Seppo Leminen and Mika Westerlund
Guest editors

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Keywords: design, living labs, networks, Open innovation, regional development, services