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Urban Living Labs: A Living Lab Way of Working

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Urban living labs have become a popular phenomenon in today’s cities. But what exactly are urban living labs? All over the world, the term “living lab” is being used to refer to a variety of local experimental projects of a participatory nature. Practitioners and scholars agree on the need for a more precise definition as a starting point for living lab research, Professor Ellen van Bueren and research fellow Kris Steen have conducted in-depth research on this topic during the AMS research project on ‘Urban Living Labs’. The aim of the research was to develop a methodology to facilitate systematic achievement of the living lab goals and ambitions in practice. How do urban living labs work? How can they contribute to a more sustainable environment? And how can you set up a successful urban living lab? The final living lab way of working is a mix of the theoretical methodological components of living labs, the conditions identified through in-depth case studies of innovations emerged in urban living labs in Amsterdam, and general recommendations and tips encountered throughout the research on how to tackle the various challenges associated with these phases. In this living lab way of working the basics of a living lab approach are explained, such as the essence of having a common ground and shared interests, as well as the implications this has for the required behaviour and mind-set of the actors. Furthermore, the living lab way of working guides actors in what to think about in which stage of the process, while offering advice on elementary questions such as for example how to set up a project, how to formalise the made agreements, how to achieve inspiring co-creation sessions and how to manage an innovation collectively through a suitable legal organisational form. Finally, recommendations are made to ensure that the evaluation, refinement and dissemination activities in the living lab are conducted with success. This is necessary to allow an overarching learning mechanism in the larger urban innovation system by adoption of the formulated lessons in other urban contexts, realising the full potential of a living lab.
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Urban Living Labs
A living lab
way of working
Kris Steen & Ellen van Bueren
Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
Delft University of Technology
June 2017
Contact: ofce@ams-institute.org
Urban Living Labs
A living lab
way of working
2
3
Preface
Chapter 1
What are urban living
labs?
Intermezzo
Innovation “Ceuvel”
Innovation “Manifesto
Circular Buiksloterham”
Innovation “Hemelswater
CODE BLOND”
Innovation “Urban Solution
Sloterdijk III”
Chapter 2
A living lab way of
working
Step 1. Initiation
Step 2. Plan development
Step 3. Co-creative design
Intermezzo
Innovation “Cross Chain
Control Centre”
Innovation “Online platform
Gebiedonline”
Step 4. Implementation
Step 5. Evaluation
Step 6. Renement
Intermezzo
Innovation “The ArenA
Battery”
Innovation “Sustainability
Company ZOEnergy”
Step 7. Dissemination
Step 8. Replication
List of figures
List of visuals and
sources
Appendix I
Colophon
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Contents
4
AMS Institute is an internationally leading institute where talent is
educated and engineers, designers, and natural/social scientists jointly
develop and valorize interdisciplinary metropolitan solutions. We work as
a networking organization, initiating platforms with local and international
partners, both private and public, and above all with citizens and users.
Our mission is to develop a deep understanding of the city sense
the city to design solutions for its challenges, and integrate these
into Amsterdam’s metropolitan area. Our research focuses on applied
technology in urban themes such as water, energy, waste, food, data
and mobility, and the integration of these themes in the urban domain,
either through the design and engineering of concrete developments
and projects, or in its governance.
The multidisciplinary nature of this research and education makes that
it is important to include a step in between fundamental research at
our founding universities Delft University of Technology, Wageningen
University and Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
and society wide implementation. The analogy of the Triple-Jump (‘Hop-
Step-Jump’) symbolizes this. In this analogy, the Living Lab approach
forms an important in-between-step to achieve more impact faster,
and above all a better society-wide implementation. The Living Lab
approach, despite requiring a substantial effort in organization, facilitates
the process of collecting information and data, sharing and integrating
expertise from different academic elds, and testing and evaluating
tools and the results of the research within the double complexity living
environments comprise.
Preface
5
Urban living labs have become a trend in cities all over the world. The
term is used to refer to a wide variety of local experimental projects of
a participatory nature. The aim is to develop, try out and test innovative
urban solutions in a real-life context. The wide variety of forms and
focuses of urban living labs, however, makes more and more cities and
citizens wonder what exactly urban living labs are and how they can be
set up. In our view, the living lab concept embraces an extensive range
of activities and it is regarded as an approach that involves actors in
a process of co-creation that potentially facilitates the construction of
innovative values.
A common denition of a Living Lab approach seems to be far from
established. However, several authors have pointed out fundamental
characteristics. Comparing different research approaches (Lab research,
Action research and Living Labs), Higgins & Klein (2011), give a basic
description of the key elements that constitute the specicity of a Living
Lab approach. The rst characteristic relates to the work subject, which
has to be placed in a real-world setting, in which multiple stakeholders
from multiple organizations and expertise interact. Secondly, the users
play an active role as co-innovators in order to ‘create, prototype,
validate and test products, services, systems and technologies in a real-
life setting’ (Westerlund & Leminen, 2011). Thirdly, research teams are
actively involved in the research setting facilitating the multidisciplinary
dimension to achieve the goals. Finally, the last key characteristic is the
collaboration in this physical and virtual space of interaction in order to
create the desired outcome. In conclusion, real-life setting, active roles
of users/researchers from multiple-disciplines, and active collaboration,
are considered essential elements to achieve the goals of the research
in the context of urban transformation process (Maiullari, 2017).
This report presents a simple methodology for setting up urban living
labs. It is based on an analysis of scholarly texts and documents and
on an analysis of 90 local experimental projects in the Amsterdam
region. The following chapters introduce a denition and a step-by-step
approach to urban living labs: a living lab way of working.
6
7
According to N. John Habraken, “intimate and unceasing interaction
between people and the forms they inhabit uniquely denes the built
environment”. His central argument is that the built environment is
universally organized by the orders of Form, Place and Understanding,
corresponding roughly to physical, biological and social domains. Within
the double complexity of (urban) living environments these domains
meet and sometimes clash. This makes that the in between step of real
life research with its multiple stakeholders, in a co-innovating inclusive
setting – or living lab – is crucial to achieve metropolitan solutions with
impact, that will be adopted smoothly and swiftly by all involved, and
thus help achieve prosperous living environments that are more livable,
sustainable, resilient and just. A clear methodology to set up such
research settings is conditional. Besides giving an extensive overview
of Amsterdam region based projects from the scope of living labs, this
report provides an excellent starting methodology for a scientically
sound setup of living labs.
Enjoy reading, and apply this to your work.
Arjan van Timmeren
Scientic director
AMS Institute
References
Habraken, N.J. (2000). The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment. J. Teichler
(Ed.). MIT Press.
Higgins, A., & Klein, S. (2011). Introduction to the living lab approach. Accelerating global supply chains with
IT-innovation, 31-36. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Maiullari, D. (2017). Energy and Space Reciprocity: A Morphological Approach for urban design in energy
transition (PhD 1st year Go/NoGo report). Delft University of Technology: Faculty of Architecture and the
Built Environment, Dept. Urbanism, Chair Environmental Technology & Design.
Westerlund, M., & Leminen, S. (2011). Managing the challenges of becoming an open innovation company:
experiences from Living Labs. Technology Innovation Management Review, 1(1), 19-25.
8
Chapter 1 What are Urban Living Labs?
What are Urban
Living Labs?
Chapter 1
9
Urban living labs have become a popular phenomenon in today’s cities.
But what exactly are urban living labs? All over the world, the term ‘living
lab’ is being used to refer to a variety of local experimental projects of a
participatory nature. Practitioners and scholars agree on the need for a
more precise denition to guide living lab activities. This chapter gives
an operational denition of urban living labs as a starting point for a
living lab way of working.
Urban living labs have become a popular phenomenon in today’s cities.
But what exactly are urban living labs? All over the world, the term “living
lab” is being used to refer to a variety of local experimental projects
of a participatory nature. Practitioners and scholars agree on the need
for a more precise denition to guide living lab activities. This chapter
presents an operational denition of urban living labs as a starting point
for a living lab way of working.
10
Chapter 1 What are Urban Living Labs?
Living labs are usually dened as “user-centered, open innovation
ecosystems based on a systematic user co-creation approach in
public–private–people partnerships, integrating research and innovation
processes in real life communities and settings” (ENOLL, 2013).
This denition contains many elements of and assumptions about what
living labs are and what they are supposed to achieve. However, this
denition is too abstract to provide an action perspective to citizens,
planners, decision-makers, and other stakeholders who want to start or
will be engaged in an urban living lab.
Based on a literature review of living labs and urban living labs and
a quick scan of 90 local innovation projects in the Amsterdam region,
the following dening characteristics of urban living labs have been
identied:
* The product of a living lab can be an object (e.g., a solar panel), a service
(e.g., waste recycling services), a technology (e.g., decentralized sanitation), an
application (e.g., electric cars as energy storing systems at home), a process
(e.g., a participative neighborhood development method), or a system (e.g., a
new logistic waste collection system).
What are Urban Living Labs?
11
Figure 1. The dening
characteristics of urban living labs
Innovation
Developing new products* to nd new solutions to existing or new
problems.
Knowledge development for replication
Producing and exchanging knowledge of the developed products and
processes to achieve these products.
Increasing urban sustainability
Sustainable development emphasizes the need for supported, local
solutions.
Development of innovation
Living labs aim to develop an innovation or a product, and not only, for
example, to test or implement a pre-developed solution.
Co-creation
The participating actors together give shape to the innovation process.
Iteration between activities
The feedback gathered from use and evaluation of the product is used
to further develop the product.
Users, private actors, public actors, and knowledge institutes
Actors from these four groups are active contributors to the innovation
and development process taking place within a living lab.
Decision power
All participants, including the users, have decision power in the various
stages of the innovation process.
Real-life use context
The living lab activities are enacted in a real-life use context.
Goal
Activities
Participants
Context
The characteristics of
urban living labs
12
Living lab platforms
Living labs are usually organized around the development of a particular
innovation focused on solving a particular problem. In practice, we
also see living labs that are dened by a geographical area that forms
the arena for multiple living labs focusing on various problems. These
area-dened projects can better be referred to as a living lab platform.
Such a platform aims to form a breeding ground for innovation, rather
than directly developing innovations. The management of a living lab
platform is concerned with giving rise to multiple living lab initiatives
within a particular urban area, and creating supporting conditions.
Key challenges of local innovation projects
Despite the popularity of living labs, stakeholders engaged or about to
be engaged in living labs are strug-gling with what they are actually
supposed to do in a living lab. A quick scan of 90 place-based sustainable
innovation projects in Amsterdam revealed that only 12 projects actually
qualify as living labs. Surprisingly, most of these are not the projects
calling themselves “living labs” or “labs.”
The sustainable urban innovation projects in Amsterdam differ from
each other along two main lines: the innovation activities performed
in the project, and the degree of user involvement intended in the
performed activities. Only when users participate in the development of
an innovation one can speak of co-creation – a key feature of living labs.
Figure 2. The distinction between
a living lab (left) and a living lab
platform (right)
13
Figure 3. Division of 90
sustainable urban innovation
projects in Amsterdam according
to the innovation activities focused
on in the project
TESTINGRESEARCH DEVELOPMENT IMPLEMENTATION COMMERCIALISATION
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Process stage
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While ideally an innovation project would cover all the phases of the
innovation process, in reality, we observed that the projects aim at one
particular activity in the innovation process, as visualized in gure 3.
Projects that solely focus on researching, testing, implementing, or
demonstrating a pre-developed product in a real-life environment are
often referred to as living labs, whereas in fact they are pilot projects,
show-cases, test sites, or demos of existing innovations.
The analysis of the Amsterdam local innovation projects further revealed
that user participation in the innovation process only takes place in 51
of the 90 projects. Of these 51 projects, 38 are concerned with testing,
implementation, or demonstration activities, in which user interaction is
inherent. Development with the user is more rarely seen, namely in only
12 of the projects.
Many of the projects that call themselves labs or living labs that do not
include user participation, do display a signicant focus on user-related
activities, conducting either user-sourced or user-oriented activities.
The user does not directly participate in these activities: There is no
co-creation. However, the user is included in other ways, for example,
by specically aiming at providing solutions from the perspective of the
user (“user-oriented”). “User-sourced” indicates that project activities
are performed using user-data actively or passively provided by the
user, for example by using data collected by sensors, smart meters,
or apps. Although all 90 projects somehow refer to innovation and
user involvement, the quick scan shows that to fulll the ambitions of
innovation by co-creation of living labs, there is a need for a method or
approach.
= Research
= Development
= Testing
= Implementation
= Commercialisation
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Figure 4. Division of 90
sustainable urban innovation
projects in Amsterdam according
to the degree of user involvement
intended in the innovation
activities
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User involvement
no user participation in innovation user-participation in innovation
WITHOUT USER USING USER-DATA
FOR USER WITH USER
(not user-oriented,
not user-sourced)
(potentially user-oriented, potentially user-sourced)
(user-oriented)
(user-sourced)
De Ceuvel
In 2010, the idea for De Ceuvel was born following a municipal call for
tenders for the temporary use of the Ceuvel Volharding site, a former
shipyard in the district of Amsterdam North. The design proposals had
to be sustainable and creative. This reected the background of the area
in which industrial activity had gradually been replaced by shared ofce
buildings and the creative industry. These newcomers had, on their own
initiative, started to create modern, future-proof buildings.
A consortium of young architects won the tender and developed a
sustainable solution in which the land was covered by phytoremediation
vegetation – a biological way of cleaning the heavily polluted soil. Mean-
while, creative workplaces and a boardwalk would be elevated on poles,
to allow usage of the area while preventing contact with the polluted soil.
New partnerships were created to develop this clean-tech playground,
making De Ceuvel a site to test and implement sustainable technologies
aimed at achieving an area with 100% self-sufciency and circular,
closed loops.
Living Lab Circular Buiksloterham
The municipality
launches a tender
for a temporary
sustainable function
for the shipyard
The Ceuvel
Volharding shipyard
is closed
Space&Matter,
Smeelearchitecture,
DELVA Landscape
Architects and others,
win the tender
Partnership with
Metabolic to
develop a “Clean-
tech Playground”
Opening of De
Ceuvel
Start of
construction and
retrotting of the
rst pilot boat to be
used on land
De Ceuvel wins a
Dutch Design Award
2000 2010
2012 2012 2013 2014 2014
LESSONS LEARNED
The temporary use of vacant plots provides opportunities for sustainable experiments
Open calls leave room for innovative and creative ideas
Persistence and intrinsic motivation of small entrepreneurs are drivers of success
Subsidies, loans, and donations were crucial for the feasibility of De Ceuvel
The participation of users and local volunteers in the construction process contributed to the
building of a community
“The development of De Ceuvel was hard, but it was also one of
the most gratifying things I’ve ever done. […] It kick started a
movement in Buiksloterham that is still continuing today and that
induced a more integrated perspective on sustainable development
[in Buiksloterham], that is so important in the light of the challenges
we’re currently facing.”
- Eva Gladek, CEO Metabolic
Manifesto Circular
BSH Buiksloterham is an industrial area on the north shore of the river IJ
in Amsterdam. The large-scale mixed-use redevelopment of the area
was put on hold due to the 2008 nancial crisis. In the absence of large
investments, bottom-up experiments, research, culture, and innovation
were actively encouraged.
The ambition for a “circular” Buiksloterham was rst expressed in the
aftermath of the development of sustainable self-build homes and the
circular creative workplace De Ceuvel, which is also situated in the
area. Amongst the group of active citizens and local entrepreneurs, the
awareness grew that in order to deliver truly sustainable solutions, more
integration, more relaxed regulations, and a mandate for sustainable
intervention and experimentation in the area were necessary.
Commissioned by De Alliantie housing corporation and the water
company of Amsterdam, Waternet, an extensive research was conducted
by Metabolic, DELVA Landscape Architects, STUDIONINEDOTS, and
vari-ous individual professionals, focused on integrating the separate
agendas of the stakeholders in the area into a vision of Buiksloterham
as a circular neighborhood: The Manifesto Circular Buiksloterham.
Collaboration, integration, and high sustainability ambitions were central
in this vision. In March 2015, more than 20 partners – including the
municipality, knowledge institutes, housing corporations, companies,
and residents – signed the manifesto to endorse this ambition, making
Buiksloterham ofcially a living lab for circular development.
Living Lab Circular Buiksloterham
Municipality grants
the rst self-build
plots
Municipality
decides to
redevelop the
Buiksloterham
industrial area
The creative
breeding place De
Ceuvel opened
Sustainable
development
Cityplots initiated
by De Alliantie
Manifesto “Circular
Buiksloterham” signed by 22
stakeholders active in the
area
Report “Circular Buiksloterham”
commissioned by De Alliantie,
Waternet, and City of Amsterdam
2006 2010
2014 2014 2015
2014
LESSONS LEARNED
Stakeholder engagement is a task of its own and should be managed as such
Formalization of collaboration can act as a barrier by challenging the private sense of ownership
and responsibility of participants
High ambitions are often weakened by requirements motivated by the status quo
Alignment with the culture of the community is crucial for supported products and processes
Follow-up assignments are often reasons for evaluation and dissemination of former projects
“Buiksloterham has become THE place for research and experiment
on circularity in a real-life context; an example for the Netherlands,
and beyond. […] The process still has many rough edges, but it is
very special that we work together to implement new and integrated
sustainable solutions on such a scale.”
- Saskia Müller, Quartermaker Foundation Stadslab Buiksloterham
Hemelswater CODE
BLOND Joris Hoebe was at home brewing beer with a small do-it-yourself kit,
when he got the idea to produce beer from rainwater. Being connected to
the University of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam (HvA) as a coach at the
MediaLAB, he was involved in the Amsterdam Rainproof program. His
students were to develop products that would make people more aware
of the city’s water storage problems. The beer brewing idea resulted
in a project with Rainproof. Through the Amsterdam living lab platform
“The Knowledge Mile,” he found the necessary partners: the Volkshotel,
for the collection of rainwater, and De Prael, a local brewery. The rst
product was a bitter blond beer called CODE BLOND, which was soon
awarded the ASN Bank World Prize in the category sustainable energy,
nature, and environment. Meanwhile, Hoebe and partners founded the
start-up Hemelswater (“Heavenly water”), to further commercialize and
spread the concept of collecting rainwater for beer production, and to
increase awareness of the need to reuse rainwater and to increase the
storage capacity for rainwater in the city.
The Knowledge Mile
Coupling of
idea to a project
on increasing
rainwater
awareness at the
MediaLAB HvA
Joris Hoebe had the idea of using rainwater
for beer production during a home-brew
experiment
Collaboration
with Brewery De
Prael for brewing
Presentation
of idea at a
gathering of the
Knowledge Mile
Public tasting of
Hemelswater:
CODE BLOND at
Brewery de Prael
Collaboration
with Volkshotel
for rainwater
collection
06 / 201605 / 201605 / 201604 / 201603 / 2016
03 / 2016
LESSONS LEARNED
Participation in formalized networks (such as the Knowledge Mile) can help to nd the right
partnerships to kick-start innovation processes
Practice-oriented student projects can be a fertile way to integrate knowledge institutes, industry
partners, and end users
Media attention can play an important role in attracting funding and interest in replication after
realization
A “sticky story” is important for the successful diffusion of commercial innovation products
Personal contacts are a driver in creating meaningful partnerships
“We as sustainable entrepreneurs have the task of transferring the
story of environmental problems to the ordinary consumer. This
beer opens up a discussion about climate change and encourages
people to take rainwater absorbing and greening measures in their
own homes. […] When we’ve managed to make this beer completely
circular, we can move on to other sectors using drinking water, such
as the paper industry or the clothing industry.”
- Joris Hoebe, initiator of Hemelswater B.V.
Urban Solution
Sloterdijk III
In 2012, the city of Amsterdam decided to redevelop the Westpoort–
Sloterdijk area. It commissioned the development of an integrated
sustainability strategy for the area to program manager Olga Van de
Ven. Based on the sustainable activity already present in the area, it
was decided to use a pilot period of one year to set up a living lab in
which entrepreneurs, the municipality, and knowledge institutes would
work together to produce a formula in which sustainable production and
commercial prot naturally go together.
Amongst others, a solution was sought for the sustainable use of
temporarily vacant plots. Inspired by a presentation about urban
agriculture, Van de Ven got in touch with the Bio-Based Connections
program of the Amsterdam Economic Board. Waternet, agricultural wage
and rental company RVR Hoofddorp, Schiphol ES2020 (a Schiphol
program with mobile container labs for testing energy solutions) and
processing companies such as the paint factory Rigo developed a
collaboration model for cultivating various crops on the vacant land and
for processing these into bio-based products. The business case was
successful, proving the solution suitable for replication.
Living Lab Sloterdijk III
Assignment for
the sustainability
pilot Sloterdijk III
Redevelopment decision Westpoort–Sloterdijk
Emergence of
urban agriculture
concept during
brainstorm with
designers
Connection with
the Bio-Based
Connections
project
2012
2013 2013 2013
Development of
a business case
with experts and
local actors
2013
First harvest of
hemp and ax on
three vacant plots
in Sloterdijk III
2014
LESSONS LEARNED
A decision to redevelop an area or product is an opportunity to formulate or reformulate a
sustainability strategy and experiment
Organizational changes can obstruct innovation by estranging connections and knowledge, which
are often person bound
Presenting projects as temporary pilot projects or experiments reduces the perceived risk and
lowers the threshold for actors to become partners in such projects
The Bio-Based Connections project was an instant way to get in touch with experts and partners
“The parties we needed for all the steps of the chain were all in the
Bio-Based Connections project. Together we developed the business
model. We forgot about the contracts, because that would have
implied the whole juridical shebang, costing a lot of time, etc. Our
collaboration was completely based on trust, the people involved,
their attitude, and our common membership of the Bio-Based
Connections network.”
- Olga van de Ven, program manager Sustainabilty Westpoort-
Sloterdijk, Municipality of Amsterdam
A living lab Way
of Working
Chapter 2
This chapter presents the living lab way of working, based on the
theoretical recommendations for living lab methodology and lessons
learned from the in-depth analysis of living labs and innovation processes
in Amsterdam.
26
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
This recommendation for a “living lab way of working” synthesizes
the methodological living lab recommendations from theory and the
identied conditions for successful living lab outcomes retrieved from
in-depth case studies in practice. All too often, the dynamics and blur
of the moment distract actors’ attention from some of the steps and
conditions needed, leading to local lessons that are not materialized
and disseminated.
The proposed living lab way of working consists of eight steps, visualized
in the gure on the right. For each of these steps, the main actions
and conditions needed are presented, supplemented with general
recommendations and tips on how to successfully complete these
steps. The zigzagged lines between the steps emphasize that there are
different pathways to come to successful living lab outcomes. Yet, this
living lab way of working helps actors involved in urban living labs to
keep on track with the innovation process as intended, and pro-ides
a step-by-step plan that permits a constructive and efcient process
towards the achievement of living lab results.
A living lab way of working: a step by
step method
27
Figure 5. The steps in the living
lab way of working
Plan
development
Co-creative
design
ImplementationEvaluation
Refinement
Dissemination
Initiation Replication
28
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 1. Initation
First step in establishing a living lab way of working is initiation.
A. An idea and a problem
Living labs are aimed at generating innovations: tting a new solution
to an existing or new problem. Therefore, either a problem or an idea
that may solve a problem lie at the core of actors’ ambitions to initiate
a living lab.
Option 1: Problem > Idea
When starting from a problem, the actions lie in making the problem
explicit and nding partners that agree with you on the relevance of
solving this problem to initiate a lab. An idea for a possible solution can
follow later, for example, following a research phase or a brainstorm.
Option 2: Idea > Problem
An idea can also serve as a starting point for a lab, emerging from your
private search for a solution to a problem, or popping up serendipitously.
New experiences are often carriers for the latter. Making the connection
between the idea and a relevant problem is key. Based on an idea, a
living lab with other interested stakeholders can be set up.
TIP – Similar thinkers as carriers of ideas
Encounters, facilitated by meeting places and events, have been shown to
play a role in the emergence of ideas and initiatives in many of the studied
innovation processes in Amsterdam. Especially encounters between similar
thinkers, for example at conferences and thematic sessions, prove to be
important in eliciting energy and inspiring action, creating momentum for
further development. Facilitating these encounters by attending or organizing
them can foster innovation.
29
B. Partners
It is up to the person or actor coming up with the idea – a user, private
actor, public actor, or knowledge institute – to nd partners who are
interested in collaborating on elaborating the topic problem or idea.
Get in touch
The initiator has to contact potential partners, which can be users, public
actors, private actors, or knowledge institutes. The nal aim is to form a
partnership with the capacity to set up a project.
TIP – A rst-contact communication infrastructure or platform
As the rst step toward making contact with potential partners is so important,
a platform should exist through which actors can get in touch with each other.
This rst-contact infrastructure is currently often only arranged for or usable
by companies or organizations, leaving, for example, un-institutionalized
user initiatives in the dark. An accessible rst-contact communication
infrastructure through which users, public parties, knowledge institutes, and
private parties can reach the right person or department with a low threshold
to talk about their initiatives or ideas and be informed about potentially further
procedures, is an important link in the chain of events leading to innovation.
Persuade
When in contact, it is the task of the initiator to persuade the potential
partners to collaborate on the topic of the suggested idea or problem.
Intrinsic motivation is necessary for commitment. Build on the private
interests of the actors you are approaching by explaining how the
particular innovation process will advance their interests while
contributing to sustainable innovation in general. Note that collaborations
often fail because propositions are too vague. Therefore, make sure
your problem is specic and/or your idea is concrete.
Users Public
actors
Private
actors
Knowledge
institutes
Figure 6. A rst-contact
communication infrastructure
between the living lab
stakeholders
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Reduce the risk
Actors tend to refrain from investing in living labs because experimentation
involves risk taking. A clearly limited scope in terms of location (e.g.,
working within a constrained geographical area, which can range from
a building to a district) or time (e.g., for one year) reduces this risk and
may convince actors to take the leap. Referring to the initiative as a “pilot
project,” “experiment,” or “living lab” can stimulate this.
Be open!
Whereas the initiating actors have the task of contacting other actors
to start collaborating on a joint problem, other actors need to be open
to these initiatives and collaborations to allow living labs to emerge
and be successful. For many actors, this is contrary to their traditional
way of working. If the suggested idea makes sense, municipalities,
knowledge institutes, companies, and users should be prepared to give
initiatives driven by non-traditional actors and spontaneous leaders
space, preferably including regulatory space, and support them where
necessary.
C. A project
After determining the topic of the living lab and nding partners willing
to collaborate on this topic, it is necessary to translate this abstract
aspiration into a concrete project in which all interested partners
participate and can constructively work on the problem.
Choice for the living lab way
The experiences with living labs demonstrate the need to explicitly
choose for the living lab approach. This implies working in user-public
actor-private actor-knowledge institute constellations and an area-based
approach, and being aware of its implications from the outset of the
project. To make this choice, the parners should consider the living lab
advantages and disadvantages and see whether a living lab matches
their project goals.
31
+
+ High potential for innovation (thanks to the
multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder approach)
+ High potential for systematic learning and replication of
innovations
+ More sustainable solutions thanks to the integration of
all stakeholders’ requirements
+ Closed gap between product production and uptake
+ Reduced risk of policy and business failure
+ Better match with local, cultural, and institutional
contexts and creativity potentials
+ Better utilization of existing knowledge and inventions
-
- Not a direct path to a short-term solution
- Experimentation entails failures
- Needs large investments in terms of coordination,
organization, management, and supportive tools
- Successful stakeholder participation requires particular
expertise
- Successful co-creation requires a particular mindset
- Working according to the living lab approach may
require actors to abandon their usual culture and/or way
of working
Figure 7. Advantages and
disadvantages of the living lab
approach
Creating a project
Having made the decision to develop the solution to the selected
collective problem in a living lab, the partners have to take the action
of creating a project. This can be done either by coupling the initiative
to an existing project (nding an existing project and following the
recommendations for partnership formation once more) or by setting
up a new project with the partners. A project can also originate as an
independent project for a part of the plan development phase, and later
connect to an existing project that matches the plans.
TIP – Connect to an existing, subsidized project
Connecting to an existing project to organize the development of the
selected problem or idea can lead to many benets. By linking to an existing
project that has already received funding through, for example, subsidies,
a relevant network of people, organizations, and organizing capacity
(including facilities and resources) can be engaged. Many conditions for the
further development of the innovation (introduced later in this booklet) can
be settled at one fell swoop. Fullling these conditions by starting up an
independent project is also possible, but will be much more difcult and labor
intensive.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
33
Inclusion of all living lab stakeholders
Whether a project is set up or connected to an existing project, it is
important that all living lab stakeholders are included from the start of
the project, in order to arrive at the co-created and integrated solutions
that living labs propagate. This requires the initiating partners of the lab
to actively invite public, private, civic, and knowledge stakeholders to
participate in the lab. Note that end user engagement often requires
special attention, as these actors typically do not have a professional
motive to participate in innovation processes and participate on
voluntary basis. It should be ensured that all stakeholders relevant in the
context of the envisioned problem or solution are involved, regardless
of the existing networks that might be embedded in the location or
collaboration structures.
Figure 8. The living lab
stakeholders
R
E
A
L
-
L
I
F
E
C
O
N
T
E
X
T
Living
labs
Users
Target group & behavioural
definers
Private actors
Practical know-how
& resources
Knowledge institutes
Expertise & scientific
substantiantion
Public actors
Long term perspective
& regulatory role
34
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
TIP – Working with an existing community
End user involvement in the development process is often dependent on
invitation by other actors. This requires attention and organization, since
end users generally do not have a professional motive to participate in the
development of societal solutions. In many of the urban innovation projects
studied, experiences reveal that voluntary participation rarely produces
users who are interested in participating in the development process. Since
participation cannot be enforced, working with an existing community that is
interested in working on a solution might be preferred. Following the bottom-
up movements in a city can probably lead you to these communities.
A location
Finally, the project should be connected to a location. Specic
characteristic of a living lab is the setting of its activities in a real-life
context, often a geographically dened area. This location can be
provided by one of the project partners; for example, the municipality
might grant a piece of land, or a company or knowledge institute might
offer an operational space as implementation arena for the living lab. A
location can also be provided by working with an existing, delimitated
urban area, selected on the basis of its users being interested in
participating in the living lab project.
TIP – Temporary or permanently vacant plots or industrial areas as
living lab locations
Time and again, vacant plots within cities prove to be great options for use
as the location for a living lab. They are often embedded within an operating
urban area, with local residents and users, while providing room for new
development. Also the permanent or temporary use of vacant industrial plots
or buildings can be a good pathway, as these locations often enjoy relaxed
regulation, which benets the living lab activities (as will be explained later
in this booklet).
35
Figure 9. Process visualization of
the recommended initiation steps
and building blocks in the living
lab way of working
STEP 1. Initation
P
A
R
T
N
E
R
S
A problem
An idea
Get in touch
Persuade
Be open
Minimize risk
Inclusion of all
living lab stakeholders
Setting up /
Connection to
a concrete project
Choice for the
LL-approach
A location
A
N
I
D
E
A
O
R
A
P
R
O
B
L
E
M
A
P
R
O
J
E
C
T
36
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 2. Plan development
After initiation, a stage of plan development comes into play, in which
the direction of development of the product as well as the process are
determined.
A. A shared vision
A living lab approach implies that also the plan development process is
one of co-creation. In the rst step, stakeholders jointly work toward a
shared vision for the project. A shared vision, being an integrated result
of the joint effort of all stakeholders, fosters satisfaction and commitment
among the participants.
Embedding all stakeholders’ interests
A precondition for this commitment is that all actors are intrinsically
motivated to participate in the living lab. If one of the stakeholders cannot
be convinced that the project is in their interest, the project will not yield
integrated solutions and long-term social, economic, and environmental
sustainability. This intrinsic motivation to participate should be
consolidated in the shared project vision, be it by providing added value
in terms of the strategic or commercial objectives of stakeholders, or by
building on an internal passion.
Jointly dening the problem statement, goals, and ambitions
The best chance of reaching agreement and making optimal use of
the means and strengths of the various actors, is created when both
interests and solutions are aligned in the development plan. This
implies that, if necessary, the aims should be reformulated until all
the stakeholders’ interests are included, which should be part of the
plan development process and to which the initiator should be open.
Together, the stakeholders should form an integrated vision of the goals
and ambitions for the innovation.
37
TIP – A sticky message
Many contributors to living labs point to the importance of a “sticky message:”
A project mission that sticks and lingers in the minds of the people who hear
it. A sticky message, making the goal of the project communicative, tangible,
and appealing, can form a continued incentive for stakeholders to support
and join the innovation project. Also, the marketing team will thank you later.
Commitment to a different way of working
Part of the shared vision underlying the innovation and the living lab
process should be the commitment of the participants to be open to
adopting an attitude that might be different from their traditional way
of working. First of all, a communicative and transparent attitude of
the actors in the development process is needed with regards to their
knowledge, interests, and objectives. This may require a change in
culture, especially by those participants who are used to concealing
their objectives for strategic reasons. Participants should realize that
they all have interests to be served in order to produce a solution that
is sustainable. Furthermore, participants need to be open-minded and
realize that other participants may help them nd new and perhaps
better solutions to problems they have struggled with for a long time.
B. Capacity
Once a shared vision for the innovation has been developed, capacity
for the required activities should be organized.
Search for inclusion of the right capabilities
To organize capacity requires one to actively seek inclusion of useful
resources and skills. This usually involves interaction with the people
who have, or have access to, these skills and resources. These
interactions often take place through a recurring pattern of awareness,
action, and interest (demonstrated in the gure on the left), leading to
the connection of these people to the project.
Figure 10. The awareness–
interest cycle that represents the
pattern of people interactions
leading to partnerships
Awareness
Interest
Action
Response
Interest
Agreement
Organisation
38
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Smartly facilitating the events in this sequence by, for example,
inducing encounters or through persuasion, can help in the formation of
collaborations. The aim is to ensure that all the capabilities and resources
necessary for the development process, and all the corresponding
actors, are included in the development process.
TIP – Look for a connection with organizations with a sustainable cause
Organizations with sustainable causes or long-term perspectives – such as
banks, municipal departments, or companies with sustainability missions,
innovation departments, or subsidy programs – played a role in all the
studied innovation projects, be it at the start or at the end of the process.
These organizations can provide the capacity that can signicantly help a
project become successful.
TIP – Join a formalized network
There are many networks connecting a number of local, national, or even
global stakeholders who wish to discuss specic sustainability topics.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Dutch
Watertorenberaad, and Amsterdam Rainproof are only a few examples.
Not only have these networks been important for the later diffusion of
innovations, they are also useful for providing inspiration, knowledge, and
partnerships that can help the development process of the innovation.
Therefore, connecting to one or more of these networks early in the process
is highly recommended.
TIP Make use of your personal network and nd win–win arrangements
The goodwill factor and low-investment win–win arrangements underlay a
large share of the organization of capabilities and resources in the studied
urban innovation processes. For example, an old friend offered his empty
hangar for construction activities, and a company donated materials in
return for exposure. Use this to your advantage and try to think from the
perspective of your potential partners to discover win–wins.
39
40
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
C. A process design
When the vision is set and the capabilities and actors are included, it
is time to formulate a working plan for the development process, again
a process of co-creation. Whereas product design is self-evident in
innovation processes, the design of the process is often forgotten, even
though this activity proved crucial for the living lab activities later in the
project.
Involve expertise on the living lab way of working
In addition to the design of the workow, equipment needs, methods,
and planning necessary for organizing the development process of the
innovation in question, it is recommended to get expertise on the living lab
approach on board. Achieving innovation in co-creation requires specic
activities, interactions, and condtions, which need to be addressed and
included in the process design. To ensure a systematic and coherent
co-creative innovation process, it is highly recommendable to anchor
attention for the needs of the living lab approach in terms of steps to take
and conditions needed in a living lab. Especially knowledge institutes are
logical candidates to fulll this role, supported by methods such as the
one presented in this booklet; however, also other actors or procedural
safeguards might fulll this role.
Division of roles & responsibilities
The process design implies a division of roles and responsibilities
amongst the living lab participants across the innovation lifecycle. It
should be clear that not all partners can contribute to an equal extent.
Participants should on their own initiative indicate where they can
contribute, and jointly work toward the allocation of all required roles
and responsibilities.
Addressing the conditions for developing the innovation - During
the formulation and allocation of responsibilities, attention should be
paid to ensure that all conditions for the development of the innovation
are met (visualized in the conditions map on the right). If any of these
41
Funding
Expertise
Working space
Time
Legal authorisation
Materials
Facilities
Technology
Implementation
location
Figure 11. Map of recurring
conditions for the development,
implementation, and replication of
innovations
42
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
conditions are not met, an effort should be made to connect to additional
actors or to make an alternative arrangement to fulll the conditions.
This also applies over the course of the living lab process when
additional requirements come up or participants change. Furthermore,
multiple participants can join forces and combine their efforts to deliver
a condition.
TIP - Use the “conditions map” as a tool to see where you can contribute
AMS Institute has developed a map of the conditions needed to support the
development and implementation of innovations within the living lab and to
support replication. Stakeholders involved in a living lab can use this map
to decide on the division of tasks and responsibilities. The map shows them
in which elds they can contribute, while making explicit which tasks will
eventually have to be completed. The conditions map is visualized on page
39.
Funding The sharing of costs is always a challenging issue when
dividing tasks and responsibilities. Don’t fall back on traditional role
patterns, trying to shift the bill and risks to others. Instead, discuss the
possible solutions together. Pay if it is reasonable for you to pay. Actors
can also decide to share the costs or to contribute in kind.
TIP – Start looking and applying for subsidies early in the process
Subsidies can be a huge help in solving funding issues. Ever since living
labs have become a funding requirement for specic (EU) research and
innovation subsidies, there has been an enormous growth in the number of
living labs. Also other innovative plans can qualify for subsidies. However, to
receive funding through this pathway, you have to be proactive and well in
time. Look and apply for subsidies and subsidized calls right from the outset
of the living lab process.
43
Awareness and agreement on commitments and implications
During the process design, it should be made clear what the planned
tasks, activities, and methods imply, and what exactly is expected of
each actor. Actors usually need to contribute to the tasks of others as
well. For example, even though evaluation may be the responsibility
of actor A, it can imply the completion of a survey by actor B. Creating
awareness of and agreement on the commitments and implications
of tasks up front increases the chance that actors will stick to their
commitments. At the same time, however, processes in living labs are
dynamic, which calls for agility and for forgivingness if processes take
unexpected turns.
Friendly formalization
While many actors are used to having these commitments and
collaboration agreements formalized in a contract or a letter of intent,
living lab experiences have shown that these strong formalizations can
also work counterproductively, by discouraging actors from committing
in the rst place, or by decreasing their commitment after signing by
taking away the sense of personal responsibility. Starting complicated
discussions about everything that could go wrong also saps energy.
Instead, try to rely on trust and formalize as little as possible. If
formalization is necessary, keep the initial agreement brief and simple
and address problems as they occur.
D. Management
Despite the dynamic and unpredictable character of living labs
processes, some management is needed to ensure progress, to monitor
the performance of the scheduled activities, and to organize the people
and resources to actually achieve results.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Establishment of appropriate management
In the plan development stage, a management structure should be
established to guide the living lab process and its inseparable activities
of co-creative design, evaluation, renement, and dissemination, which
tend to not get much priority. This development process manager
does not necessarily have to be the same as the manager who might
eventually manage the innovation during its operation phase.
Participants in a living lab cannot be managed in a traditional way, as
they often join the innovative co-creation work on a voluntary basis, while
making a considerable contribution. Rather than forming a hierarchical
authority, the development process manager should motivate and
inspire the living lab participants, and build relationships and trust.
These activities are essential, in addition to safeguarding progress and
managing (and, where necessary, seeking advice on) the living lab
activities.
To achieve such a management structure, living labs need a special
kind of person to take the lead: a person who is emotionally involved,
persuasive, entrepreneurial, persevering, and creative. It does not
matter to which actor group (public, private, or civic) such a leader or
group of leaders belong; the capacities are leading. An independent
manager, for example a freelancer, is also an option.
TIP – A visionary Leader
Visionary leaders have been shown to have a large positive impact on
innovation processes. These visionary leaders are intrinsically motivated
persons with a strong vision who can captivate and drag along others with
their enthusiasm, ready to pull, lug, and ght to realize a shared vision.
These leaders usually emerge spontaneously, often because of their
strong personal commitment to the idea to be developed. Such a personal
commitment is crucial, also when recruiting such a leader from outside.
45
Figure 12. Process visualization of the
recommended plan development steps
and building blocks in the living lab way
of working
STEP 2. Plan development
Commit to a different
way of working
Embed all
stakeholder interests
Build trust and
relationships
Manage the LL-activities
Motivate & inspire
the LL-participants
Jointly define goals
and ambitions
Connections through
awareness - interest - action - sequences
Friendly
formalisation
Expertise on the
LL-Way of Working
Joint design of the
process plan
Division of
roles and
responsibilities
Awareness &
commitment
T
H
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H
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C
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 3. Co-creative design
When a shared vision has been formulated concerning the goals of the
project, the direction of development of the solution, and the course of
the innovation process, it is time to move on to the co-creative design
process. In this phase, the specics of the product are gradually
elaborated though the development of a concept, the design of the
product based on this concept, and the production of the designed
product (prototyping). Just as in the other phases, co-creation implies
that the stakeholders make decisions together, respecting each other ’s
input. This requires stakeholders to actively participate, to state their
opinions, and to listen to each other. This way of working calls for
attention in some particular areas.
A. Network-collaboration in a setting of equal interests
First of all, actors will have to collaborate in a network setting in which
interests and actors are juxtaposed.
Acknowledge and build horizontal relationships
The rst step that needs to be taken to facilitate this network
collaboration structure is to minimize potential traditional hierarchical
actor dominances in the development process. For an urban living
lab approach, the participants in the lab must let go of their potentially
traditional dominance or steering role, and position their demands
as one of the many interests in the deliberation process, to which an
integrated solution should be found.
Figure 13. The transition from
a hierarchical to a network
collaboration structure necessary
for co-creative development in
living labs
47
Do not fall back on traditional role patterns
For many actors, it is difcult to not fall back on traditional role patterns.
A living lab can be considered a niche to which the usual rules and
roles do not apply, or do so only to a limited extent, which means that
enforcing the usual rules and roles will frustrate the process. Design
decisions should be based on what might be benecial for this particular
innovation, and arguments referring to the inability to deviate from
traditional behavior or role patterns should not be accepted during the
development process.
An open and transparent attitude
As mentioned in the “commitment to a different way of working,” the
participants in a living lab will have to adopt a communicative and
transparent attitude in the development process, and be open to
potentially new perspectives introduced by other actors.
B. A flexible institutional framework
To facilitate co-creation and prevent a large part of the design of the
product and process being determined by public plans and procedures
and private norms and standards, it is necessary that the living lab
process is facilitated by a exible institutional framework. Especially for
public actors, who are used to acting upon the existing institutions, it
is often difcult to let go of the authorize, control, and enforce mode.
This mode is understandable from the point of view of democratic
accountability, but it does not support innovation. Likewise, citizens
and private actors should stop turning to the government for problem
solving. Within a living lab, it is important to devote time to discussing
the changing roles and role expectations amongst the participants
involved, as well as within the participating organizations. Backup from
the management board and government in ofce is crucial for exploring
new grounds and crossing institutional boundaries.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Identify regulations that hinder, experiment with those that support
Urban living labs, which operate within existing institutional frameworks
from which they are partly exempted, serve very well to identify
regulations that are a barrier to innovation. They also offer room to
exwperiment with new regulations. This often requires the involvement of
multiple levels of government, thus including the state in local innovation
processes. Performance-based regulations are known to better serve
innovation: It is up to actors how to comply. Living labs can experiment
with formulating performance requirements.
Provide clarity on the living lab status
Many cities now have living labs, and often the living labs are formally
acknowledged by city councils. However, it is highly opaque which rights
this status brings along. The eventual willingness of actors to allow
experimentation and exemption from rules and co-creation is difcult
to uphold when permits have to be granted, land use and zoning plans
have to be formally approved or subsidies have to be granted. This
often involves the participation of other municipal departments, units
and civil servants than the one(s) already involved, less willing to jointly
discuss the relaxation of regulations and allow signicant stakeholder
participation. Participating actors should aim to get clarity on the living
lab status as soon as possible. The relaxation of regulations and
opportunities for co-creation should be made explicit to all stakeholders,
also to those not directly involved, as early in the process as possible.
Clarity on the status also reduces the risks for (local) government. The
experimental status prevents that others demand similar conditions.
Also, regulatory experiments are allowed to fail, allowing regulatory
authorities to simply end regulatory experiments when they turn out not
to work.
49
TIP – Formulate a selective municipal deregulation policy
The living lab approach requires room in the municipal regulations to
allow co-creative plan development. The municipality could support this by
selecting zones where its efforts are aimed at creating room in the public
regulations allowing bottom-up initiatives and innovation. Living labs could
then be concentrated in these deregulated zones, where actors are already
accustomed to a different way of working and where some expertise and
communication networks already exist.
Local relaxation, generic replication
The good news is that whereas regulations should be relaxed for the
sake of innovation development and innovative regulations supporting
the innovation are being reformulated and tested, the living lab
experiences will help to change regulation and formulate citywide or
nationwide regulations supporting the replication of the innovation in
other urban areas.
TIP – Appoint a “municipal guide”
In IJburg, a new Amsterdam district, a coalition between the municipality
and large stakeholders with development rights (property developers and
housing associations) in the area involved in the planned development of
the district appointed a marktmeester (a “market master”): An ofcial in the
neighborhood specically charged with thinking along with and facilitating
bottom-up initiatives, while providing guidance on the applicability of the
municipal regulations and procedures, and functioning as a spokesperson
when adjusting these municipal regulations and procedures was desirable.
An accessible expert who is familiar with the public planning system can
help open up municipal processes to the living lab actors by providing the
appropriate information and advice.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
C. Constructive, inspiring co-creation sessions
A co-creative design process is built on constructive, positive and
inspiring co-creation sessions, in which the actors can engage in
development activities in a setting that provides energy, enthusiasm,
and productivity.
Keep gatherings informal and low threshold
Many of the cases studied show that low threshold, informal meetings
requiring no obligatory attendance yield a higher rate of attendance
and more development decisions than formal meetings. For example,
they can be held during lunchtime, after work hours with drinks, or even
during breakfast. They offer safe environments for the various actor
groups to freely exchange ideas and brainstorm. Together with the
low threshold character of these meetings, this allows the participants
to rmly focus on the innovation and the content, offering a breeding
ground for creative thinking.
Use appropriate language
Knowledge institutes, private actors, public actors, and, especially,
users and citizens are known for speaking their own languages. For
example, whereas a municipality may speak of a “dwelling,” a user
speaks of a “house.” To allow good communication, the use of jargon
should be minimized and actors should ensure that they speak in terms
that are accessible to all participants. Avoiding jargon will also make
actors aware of the hidden assumptions that are often embedded in
these specialized terms.
Nourish intrinsic motivation
Actors’ enthusiasm, perseverance, and intrinsic motivation have been
shown to be crucial in successful innovation processes. Therefore,
the intrinsic motivation of partners should be nourished during the co-
creation sessions. This can be done by demonstrating the relevance of
the project to each of the actors, by reconrming the shared interests,
51
and by promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility among
the actors. In every session, co-created decisions should be clearly
documented and monitored in the following sessions.
Maintain the momentum
The positive mindset and active participation of actors in the living lab
process is fed by their sense of accomplishment. Holding on to the
positive energy resulting from events and maintaining the momentum
has been shown to be a recurring success factor in the studied innovation
processes in Amsterdam.
Result-oriented sessions with tangible results The actors in the
living lab should not be allowed to slack off. Interactions may be short
but they must be frequent, in order to keep the discussion about the
innovation up and running. Sessions should be result-oriented, with a
focus on doing rather than talking. Tangible results will help in making
progress. This can be strengthened by directly sharing these results
after each session. Deadlines often drive big steps forward.
TIP – A toolbox of brainstorm- and co-creation methods
We wish we could tell you which methods to employ in the co-creation
sessions to co-create, but unfortunately there is no one-size-ts-all mode.
Be creative in developing your personal co-creation and brainstorm
methods, and take a look at other projects to see what has worked for
them. The cases in this booklet provide some great examples of co-creation
methods employed in the innovation processes. Determine what you need,
look around, and nd the tools and methods that can help you shape your
development journey.
Celebrate successes Celebrating successes and afrming these
achievements with a publication, covenant, or a cake helps to consolidate
this feeling of momentum in the participants’ minds.
Keep things simple – To make meetings positive and productive, it
is vital to avoid complexity and to keep things simple. Discussing
legislative, juridical, and nancial side issues with all actors together
can lead to frustration. Focus on the connection with the higher aim
and target the vision and dream, instead of diving too deep into these
52
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
technicalities. Even though co-creation in principal assumes equal
inuence of all participants on decision-making, it does not mean that
participants have to be involved in all decisions. Ask participants if
they want to participate in those matters that don’t directly relate to the
content of the innovation, and if they don’t, don’t force them. Instead,
sort out these technicalities with a team of experts, of course feeding the
outcomes back to all stakeholders, putting them up for discussion, and
requesting input and feedback whenever appropriate. Furthermore, be
pragmatic and solve problems as they occur, instead of wasting energy
on anticipating potentially difcult problems.
Develop a suitable infrastructure for communication and sharing
It will not always be possible for all living lab participants to attend every
development session, especially in the case of low-threshold, informal
meetings. Nonetheless, it is important that even the stakeholders
who are not present at a development session stay connected to the
development of the innovation and the decisions made. To facilitate
this, a suitable communication and information sharing infrastructure
should be established through which all participants can be updated
on the steps taken, and through which relevant les and information
can be shared. Additionally, the process manager can inform absent
stakeholders orally. Potentially relevant points discussed outside of the
co-creative sessions should still be taken into account and be put on the
agenda for the next session.
Co-create the process and the product
During these co-creation sessions, not only the product – the innovation
– but also the process should be subject to development. The process
can and should change over the course of the development process,
as the shape of the innovation and the associated actions and working
methods become clearer. It is important that also these decisions are
made in collaboration with all the actors in the process, so that there is
consensus and the responsibilities are clear. Commitment to the process
will also lead to more commitment to the outcome, thus improving the
chances of successful implementation.
53
D. The right mindset
Finally, the success of the co-creative design process depends of the
participants approaching the development deliberations with the right
mindset.
Develop trust
First of all, it is impossible to work together in the collaborative,
enterprising, and creative way that co-creative innovation processes
require when there is no trust between the living lab participants.
Trust is mentioned in theory and by practitioners as a precondition for
actors to dare to invest and take action in living labs, which inherently
imply experimentation and innovation two risky undertakings. A way
to promote this trust is to focus on propagating relationships through
team building activities and enjoyable sessions. This, as well as conict
management where needed, should be part of the responsibilities of the
process manager. Furthermore, trust should be conrmed by sticking
to the shared values and ambitions. To do this, ambitions should be
adjusted when necessary (which is a natural process as the innovation
is gradually specied) and guarded during the development process.
Mutual respect for these shared values creates a bond between the
participants, which lies at the basis of trust.
Accept uncertainty
Breaking new ground always implies uncertainty, and this is no different
in living labs. Apart from the uncertainty associated with experimentation,
living labs have to cope with uncertainty regarding the institutional context
and the behavior of the other actors on whom the innovation depends.
Partners can change their minds regarding authorization or investment,
jeopardizing the viability of the innovation. In the initiation phase, risk
can already be reduced by delimiting the experiment in geographical
scope and time. In the co-creative design phase, uncertainty can be
further reduced by ensuring involvement of the participating actors
by including multiple persons from multiple departments and ranks of
54
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
the participating organizations. Rather than trying to transform these
uncertainties into certainties and demanding unrealistic promises from
the living lab partners, however, the actors in the living lab should learn
to accept this uncertainty and be daring, learning to act and make
decisions regardless of the absence of guarantees.
TIP – Contractless collaboration
There are some examples of innovation processes where the project
partners have decided to skip the contracts altogether, as far as reasonably
possible. This has been shown to accelerate the process signicantly, and,
above all, has produced more than satisfactory results. In this scenario, the
collaboration between the participants of the living lab is built entirely on trust.
This produces a low degree of formalized certainty, while also producing a
high degree of exibility for the individual actors and a limited degree of risk,
by taking away the potential of partners to start legal procedures. The shared
membership of a professional (or social, for that matter) network is often
reason enough to not violate the bond of trust.
Figure 14. Process visualization
of the recommended co-creative
design steps and building blocks
in the living lab way of working
Equal interests
and horizontal
relationships
No falling back on
traditional role
patterns
An open and transparant
attitude
N
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W
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K
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B
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A
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I
O
N
55
STEP 3. Co-creative design
Continuous
development of
intrinsic motivation
A communication and
sharing infrastructure
Local relaxation
Clarity on
the Living Lab
status
Trust
Accept
uncertainty
Low threshold
gatherings
Appropriate
language
Keeping
momentum
Co-creation of the process
as well as the product
A
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Customised
Regulations
Cross Chain Control
Centre
In 2013, the city of Amsterdam joined the subsidized European project
TRANSFORM with the project Energetic South-East (Energiek Zuid-Oost).
The project aimed at creating low carbon cities through energy-focused
interventions in a particular area, preferably with the cooperation of local
companies.
Energetic South-East has led to impressive results and numerous new
partnerships. After the project, some partners decided to continue the
sustainable efforts without subsidies. They entered an informal partnership
called Circular South-East (Zuid-Oost Circulair). In 2016, the partnership
sought cooperation with the knowledge institute TNO to manage the program,
which became rather big. Solving the waste problem was an important
focus of this program. Together, the actors in Energetic South-East started
to work on the development of a more efcient logistic cooperation system
for waste collection and new circular concepts. They decided to respond to
the call of the Dutch “Top Sector Logistics” for a proposal for a “Cross Chain
Control Centre” (4C), integrating multiple supply chains in an overarching
transportation system. They won the competition. In March 2018, a new
logistics pilot model should be operating in Amsterdam South-East.
Zuid-Oost Circulair
Amsterdam South-
East joins the
European project
TRANSFORM
End of project
TRANSFORM,
start of the informal
collaboration
South-East Circular
Two-day “Waste in
the City” challenge
with local actors to
raise awareness and
gather ideas
2013 2014 2015
Consortium wins Top
Sector Logistics call
with 4C proposal
2016
4C pilot project in
Amsterdam South-
East
2017
LESSONS LEARNED
A history of collaboration and the resulting openness and trust signicantly facilitates productive
innovation
Stimulating, goal-oriented sessions that target the intrinsic motivation of the participants create
momentum for innovation
The establishment of management is often the kick-start of activity
Connecting to larger, subsidized projects can help organizing nancial and material capacity
“The subsidy of the Top Sector Logistics requiring a pilot was
an instant motivation to stop theorizing and start doing. An
entrepreneurial and interactive approach with challenging, goal-
oriented sessions soon proved to be the formula to keep moving
forward. Even though the participating actors all have their private
interests, they have to find a match and work together in a logistic
system like this.”
- Bineke Posthumus, project manager TNO
Online platform Gebied-
online After a meeting on social innovation at The Hub (a workspace rental
ofce for engaged people), IJburg residents Paul Engel and Linda
Vosjan got the idea for an experiment. If one meeting can open up such
interesting discussions and create so much energy for action, would this
also work with residents? Soon the rst network meeting of what would
later become the organization “IJburg Dreams, IJburg Does” (IJburg
Droomt, IJburg Doet; (IJDIJD)) was a fact. IJDIJD informed residents
about what is going on in the neighborhood, connecting needs to ideas
and people in the area. The wish for an online platform to facilitate the
activities of IJDIJD emerged, which resident and IT entrepreneur Michel
Vogler volunteered to build. With the support of residents, entrepreneurs,
the municipality, and the IJburg Coalition, the HalloIJburg.nl platform
went online in May 2012. More functionalities were gradually added to
the platform, generating interest in the platform outside IJburg. In 2016,
the Gebiedonline (“Neighborhood online”) cooperative was founded.
The cooperative ownership made it possible to make the technology
available to others. The co-operative currently has 22 members,
presented by different networks in various cities in the Netherlands.
The platform supports these bottom-up initiatives through information
exchange, by connecting and activating people, and by giving them the
possibility to self-organize, allowing them to create more impact.
IJburg
First network
meeting IJDIJD
Interest in the
functionalities of
HalloIJburg.nl grows
2010
Emergence of the
idea for an online
platform to fortify
IJDIJD
2010
HalloIJburg.nl
platform goes
online
2012 2014
Foundation of the
gebiedonline.nl
cooperative
2015
Adoption of the technology of
Gebiedonline by 22 other bottom-up
networks in the Netherlands
2016
LESSONS LEARNED
Local culture and demography can inuence the emergence of innovation. A highly educated
population can cause societal involvement, a local identity can cause commitment, and the
presence of entrepre-neurs can propagate initiative and know-how
General thematic gatherings on specic urban problems, such as the sessions at the meeting
places The Hub and Pakhuis De Zwijger, often lay at the basis of ideas and initiatives
A “cooperative in formation” (Coöperatie in Oprichting) is a very elementary legal form to formalize
the collaborative management of an innovation without specifying too much.
Continuous development of an innovation, allowing it to grow together with its users, is important for
the survival of the innovation.
“While making halloijburg.nl and the Gebiedonline cooperative, we
investigated how online platforms can reinforce bottom-up networks
as engines for societal and democratic innovation. The members
of the coop-erative, which are the users of the platform, make the
decisions about the further development of the plat-form, following
our philosophy of a completely flat network collaboration.”
– Ruurd Priester, Quartermaker Gebiedonline cooperative
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 4. Implementation
In the living lab approach, design activities are alternated with
implementation of the product in its real-life environment. The following
recommendations have been formulated for this step.
A.Sustaining the implemented innovation
From the case studies of innovation processes in practice, a number
of conditions for the successful implementation of an innovation have
been identied.
Presence of the development conditions to sustain the innovation
For a successful operation phase of an innovation, the innovation must
be sustainable in its real-life context. All too often, participants focus
most of their attention on delivering the innovation, and much less on
making sure that the innovation delivers a successful solution also over
a longer period of time.
To achieve this, the conditions for development, presented in the
conditions map on page 39, still apply – but this time for a longer time
span.
Presence of the development conditions to further develop the
innovation
Next to simple sustainment, the ongoing development of the innovation,
to a greater or lesser extent, has come forward as being crucial for the
survival and replication of an innovation in an urban context. This implies
that the development conditions (see page 39) should also be fullled to
allow action to further develop the innovation.
Formalise an implementation organisation
All too often innovations are left unused after their initial launch,
simply because not enough attention has been paid to ensuring their
continued use. For prolonged implementation, the organization of
the tasks associated with the sustainment of the innovation becomes
61
a requirement to ensure that the innovation is successfully and
continuously maintained. This organization is often formalized in one of
many possible legal forms.
Ensuring users throughout implementation
In addition to the conditions of organization and the fulllment of the
conditions necessary for the sustainment and ongoing development
of the innovation, the presence of users provides a nal condition
necessary for a successful operational phase of the innovation. Users
of the innovation give the innovation legitimacy. If there are no users
using the innovation, a new, interested user base should be found, or
the innovation should be adjusted in order to better meet user needs.
B. Role-true behavior
For short-term implementation periods for the sake of testing, attention
should be paid to the fact that the roles necessary for the implementation
of the innovation are taken up only by actors who would also take
up these roles in the long term. This is the stage at which to explore
the opportunities to create a viable business model for executing
all activities surrounding the implementation of the product, such as
production, management, etc., which should be achieved in order to
deliver a sustainable product.
C. For the long term: A management structure
Implementation can be oriented to both the short term – for the sake of
testing and the initial launch – and the medium to long term, in the case
of the nal implementation of the product. For the latter, a management
structure is required to manage the operation and potential replication
processes of the innovation in other urban areas. It will also ensure
that the activities associated with the sustainment of the innovation are
executed. Short-term implementations without this formalized structure
are possible, if the intention is to remove the product from circulation
soon.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Find a legal organizational form that suits you
Formalization of the implementation organization can take many
shapes: a foundation, a cooperation, an association, a private company,
or another form. The developers of the innovation should formulate a
role division for the long-term implementation phase of the innovation,
and nd a juridical organizational form that suits this vision. Whether all
stakeholders participate in this management structure, or whether the
future management of the innovation is left to one party, in the form of for
example a private company, is up to the stakeholders to decide.
In case of collective management: include all stakeholders
Stakeholders can also decide to remain involved during the operation
phase. When a collective form of juridical organizational is chosen,
some additional challenges will be encountered.
Shared motivations – First, as we are talking about a long-term
organization, members representing each stakeholder can change
and/or new stakeholders can enter the organization as the innovation
evolves. It is important to immediately familiarize these new members
with the motivation behind the organization and the innovation, so that
they understand its function and do not regard the organization as, for
example, just a supplier. Sharing the motivations is also crucial for the
members, when they want to collectively strengthen the innovation.
TIP – The cooperative as a useful management form
When there is a desire for collective management of an innovation,
the cooperative has proven to be a useful juridical form to formalize the
management structure.
Especially a Coöperatie In Oprichting (“Cooperative in formation”) can open
up opportunities in the Netherlands. In such a cooperative, the articles of
association can be elementary, allowing the shared interest to be put central.
Additional agreements can be documented by the members in the internal
rules of operation, which can be amended without the intervention of a
notary.
63
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Expertise – A formal management structure requires a certain degree
of professionalism. The inclusion of people with entrepreneurial or self-
employed experiences can offer expertise regarding the organizational
aspects of the organization, allowing others to focus on the innovation.
Keep things simple As said, the administrative aspects of a formal
management structure can be complicated. The managerial meetings
with all stakeholders can soon evolve into difcult discussions on
nancial or juridical issues, leaving little time to address the core issue:
the implementation of the innovation. Keeping things simple is key to
effective collective management. Don’t dive too deep into the numbers,
and when things become too complicated, stick to one-size-ts-all
decisions that are acceptable to everyone. Be pragmatic, and tackle
problems as they occur, maintaining to the positive momentum of the
development phase.
65
Figure 15. Process visualization
of the recommended
implementation steps and
building blocks in the living lab
way of working
STEP 4. Implementation
Only take up tasks
you would also perform
on the long term
Include stakeholders
in the management
when appropriate
Find an appropriate
legal organisational
form
Formalise an
implementation
organisation
Cover the conditions for
medium-long term
sustainment of the innovation
Funding
Technology
Location
Time investment
Working space
Facilities
Legal Authorisation
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 5. Evaluation
Evaluation is a core component of the living lab approach. During the
evaluation phase, the product and the process are evaluated to check
whether the goals and ambitions have been achieved. This evaluation
is to take place at two levels. The technical level is concerned with the
functioning of the innovation itself and asks questions, such as: Does it
work, can people operate it, do people use it? At the conceptual level,
evaluation is concerned with questioning the innovation itself or the
aim of the innovation, leading to questions, such as: Is this the right
innovation given the aim or the problem it intends to solve? Does it have
many, perhaps unexpected side effects? Will it be replicable? If so,
under which conditions and at which scale?
A. Management
Evaluation, together with iteration and dissemination activities, has been
shown to be the most vulnerable part of the living lab approach. As urban
living labs are about innovation, the phases of development, production,
and implementation of the innovation often receive most attention.
However, given the aim of living labs to learn from the innovation in
its use context and to use the innovation and/or the lessons learned in
other places, evaluation is a crucial stage. Without evaluation, living labs
will lead to one-off, local innovations.
Include monitoring and evaluation activities
Just like the plan development and design activities in the living lab
process, the monitoring and evaluation activities need to be specically
formulated and steered by the management of the living lab, which can
consist of representatives of various stakeholders or constellations
thereof. Public stakeholders, such as local authorities or subsidizing
organizations, should make their participation conditional on a well-
formulated monitoring and evaluation plan.
67
Knowledge institutes in charge of monitoring and evaluation
In order to keep an overview of the gathered information and allow
integrated formulation and documentation of lessons, it is best to
have one party in charge of the whole learning process in living labs.
The Amsterdam cases show that the close involvement of knowledge
institutes in living labs ensure that attention is paid to monitoring and
evaluation. Knowledge institutes do not only have knowledge on the
innovation being developed; they also have knowledge and experience
of monitoring and evaluation. This makes them ideal candidates for
preparing and supervising these activities.
Evaluate the innovation and the innovation process
Monitoring and evaluation should be concerned with the product, the
innovation, and the innovation process. Especially on the process,
important lessons could be learned that could already benet the living
lab itself; after all, the process evolves in an iterative way. In addition,
the process lessons can be of high value to other living labs, or to
stakeholders contemplating starting or becoming engaged in a living
lab. Without evaluation, living labs could never have such an impact.
B. Stakeholder commitment to evaluation
As the goals and ambitions, as well as the innovation and the innovation
process, are the outcome of active stakeholder participation and inuence,
stakeholders should also be part of the monitoring and evaluation. In this
process, stakeholders should be involved in formulating the indicators to
be monitored and the criteria to be evaluated. In addition, the evaluation
should consider the different stakeholders’ perspectives on the process
and outcome.
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
Remind the stakeholders of their interests and relevance
Even when it has been made clear to the participants that monitoring
and evaluation is a crucial part of the living lab approach, the priorities
of stakeholders might shift over time. Remind the stakeholders of the
agreement, and demonstrate the importance of evaluation once more,
by relating its benets to the private interests and objectives of the
stakeholders.
Make evaluation easy by good preparation
The manager of the evaluation process can facilitate the engagement
of the stakeholders in evaluation by thoroughly and thoughtfully
preparing the evaluation tools, such as clear and brief online surveys
or well-prepared interviews, making it easy and quick for stakeholders
to collaborate and share the knowledge and experiences gained.
Also, participants should prioritize their own monitoring and evaluation
activities. The popularity of living labs makes them a hot topic for research
by many institutes and students, and jointly disseminating intermediate
evaluation results could meet the information need of outsiders.
Don’t forget to include external users in the evaluation when
relevant
While in living labs users are participating in the product development
process to ensure the developed innovation is in line with user
requirements and user behavior, it is important to realize that the
evaluation of the product by these users can be inuenced by their
having prior knowledge about the product. Also their involvement in the
product development may inuence perceptions. Therefore, external
users should be included in the evaluation process, when appropriate.
These “uninformed” users can teach the developing actors more about
the functionality and appreciation of the product and provide fresh
insights.
69
Figure 16. Process visualization
of the recommended evaluation
steps and building blocks in the
living lab way of working
STEP 5. Evaluation
Facilitate by
good preparation
Include external users
when relevant
Include monitoring- and
evaluation activities
Knowledge institutes
in charge
Evaluate the process
as well as the product
Emphasize interest
and relevance
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Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 6. Refinement
Evaluation is followed by the renement of the innovation, namely further
improving and netuning the product in line with the iterative character
of the living lab approach.
A. Optimization
During renement, the outcomes of the evaluation phase are used to
go back to the appropriate development phase to solve the problems
encountered and to rene the product to better t the stakeholders’
needs. The nal aim is to develop an optimal product that meets the set
goals for the innovation, and it can take several iterations of this process
before this aim is achieved.
B. Co-creation
Adjustments to and renement of the co-created outputs should also be
addressed in a co-creative manner. This is an aspect of co-creation that is
often forgotten in urban living labs in practice. During the implementation
phase, there is a natural, operation-oriented division of tasks amongst
the living lab participants. The focus on getting things done may cause
the stakeholders in charge to feel legitimized to start optimizing the
product from their own perspective. And quite often, stakeholders are
not aware of this. Even though the improvements seem marginal, some
stakeholders may regard them as a sea change. However, iterations
should also be conducted in a process of co-creation, and the process,
the tools, and the management can also be subject to review.
Again, there is tension between the time needed for co-creation and
the progress and decision-making power need for implementation,
especially since the implementation phase is one in which more
traditional stakeholders might become involved, such as suppliers,
shopkeepers, and housing associations. The participants managing
the implementation process should be sensitive to assessing which
changes should be discussed with the wider group of participants.
71
Figure 17. Process visualization
of the recommended renement
steps and building blocks in the
living lab way of working
Utilise feedback to futher
develop the product
make adjustments to the
product in co-creation
PLAN
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The ArenA Battery
The Amsterdam ArenA stadium is home to the Ajax football club and
also hosts many events. The stadium is a large energy consumer. In
2010, Amsterdam ArenA launched a ve-year strategic plan expressing
its ambi-ions to lower the environmental impact of the stadium and the
surrounding area and to become a platform for sustainable innovations.
During the company’s search for innovative sustainable solutions, its
chief innovation ofcer, Henk van Raan, met the director of the The
Mobility House. This company had just developed a renewable energy
storage system made of car batteries with car manufacturer Daimler. A
collaboration was born, and in 2016 The Mobility House, the Amsterdam
Environment and Energy Fund, and Amsterdam ArenA signed an
agreement with Eaton and Nissan to realize a similar battery system
for the stadium. The aim was to make the energy management more
efcient, sustainable, and reliable. When put into service, the battery will
be the largest energy storage system based on second-life car batteries
used by a commercial company in Europe.
To increase the impact of the innovation, the Amsterdam ArenA, The
Mobility House, and the Amsterdam Environment and Energy Fund are
setting up a private company, Amsterdam Energy Arena BV, to provide
energy services to owners or grids, buildings, and housing, and to other
event venues in the surroundings. This way, mega batteries like this can
become a pivot in local smart energy grids, opening opportunities for
more sustainable energy management systems in the future.
Zuid-Oost Circulair
Realization of a
battery system
based on car
batteries by The
Mobility House –
Daimler
Arena launches the ve-year plan “Amsterdam
ArenA, Naturally sustainable”
Directors of
Amsterdam
ArenA and The
Mobility House
coincidentally meet
Amsterdam ArenA
and The Mobility
House launch a
tender for a battery
system for the ArenA
Amsterdam ArenA, The Mobility House,
Nissan and Eaton sign a contract for the
delivery of an energy storage system
based on second-life Nissan LEAF
batteries
2010
2016 2016 20162016
LESSONS LEARNED
Unplanned encounters can play a big role in the origination of ideas and collaborations
A visionary leader is a catalyst for collective action
Large institutions with a sustainable cause often serve as major facilitators of innovation by creating
awareness, initiating action and providing capacity
Implementing an idea with the help of public funding can be difcult, because of the requirement for
public tenders
Connection with relevant technologies is necessary to realize certain ideas
As one of the largest commercial players in Amsterdam, Amsterdam
ArenA has the capacity to make a difference. Henk van Raan, our
chief innovation officer, does a great job in convincing the other
actors that now is the time to make this difference. To get everybody
on board, you need to find smart solutions that are environmentally
and economically attractive, like this battery.”
- Reinout Huisman, project manager Amsterdam ArenA
Sustainability Company
ZOEnergyIn mid 2016, the World Business Council For Sustainable Development
(WBCSD), a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading
businesses and partners, launched the Zero Emissions Cities (ZEC)
project. The project is aimed at developing an approach to get cities to a
zero emissions pathway together with local stakeholders.
Under the umbrella of this project, six member companies of the
WBCSD joined forces with the municipality of Amsterdam and local
partners to develop an implementation strategy for a selection of
sustainable energy projects. The solution is sought in a district company
or cooperation: Zuidoost Energy (ZOEnergy). This body would not only
manage the development and implementation of tailored sustainable
energy solutions in the involved areas, but would also be responsible
for the organization of funding necessary for these interventions and
their long-term return, reinvesting the revenues from these activities in
the company.
After a dynamic process of specifying the collaboration, arranging a
nancing construction, and allocating responsibilities, on 8 February
2017 Arcadis, Alliander, DNV GL, Engie, TNO, and the municipality of
Amsterdam signed a letter of intent to work toward the establishment of
the socially embedded sustainability company Zuid-Oost Energy, in an
appropriate legal form, in September 2017.
Zuid-Oost Circulair
Foundation of the
World Business
Council for Sustain-
able Development
1995
The WBCSD signs a memorandum
of understanding with the city of Am-
sterdam for a Zero Emission Cities
project in Amsterdam South-East
2016
Development of an implementation
strategy for sustainable energy
projects in Amsterdam South-East by
six WBCSD members, local partners,
and the city of Amsterdam
2016
Arcadis, Alliander, DNV GL, Engie,
TNO, and the municipality of Amster-
dam sign the letter of intent for the
realization of ZOEnergy
2017
LESSONS LEARNED
Large companies are discouraged from participating in sustainable innovation by institutional
incentives that do not favor sustainability
The uncertainty of the commitment of stakeholders to participate in an innovation proves to be a big
barrier to innovation
Opening up all potentially high-impact options means that actors need to be willing to deviate from
their traditional mindset, way of working, and business model
Deadlines help in encouraging the production of results and keeping momentum in the development
process
“The energy transition offers a big opportunity for companies. Yet,
they experience no benefits in achieving a high sustainable energy
performance. Participating in innovations like this really depends on
individual corporations making it their interest to do better, and in
the innovation to accommodate this interest.”
- Niels van Geenhuizen, program manager Sustainability Arcadis
76
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 7. Dissemination
Dissemination refers to the drawing of lessons from the experiences in
the living lab in order to apply them in future contexts and thus permit
an overarching learning process that goes beyond the individual living
lab. Dissemination takes place after as well as during the development
process, learning from interim experiences and evaluation outcomes
as well as from the nal results of the lab. It implies both reection on
the internal knowledge generated in the living lab and triangulation with
existing external knowledge.
A. Drawing of lessons
Lessons should be drawn by reecting on the interim and nal
experiences and ndings of the living lab process, thus generating
lessons on, amongst others, what works and what doesn’t work. This
reection should be based on the input of all stakeholders, although it
is recommended that one actor should be in charge of this process, in
line with Step 5A. The lessons can be concerned with all aspects related
to the innovation and the innovation process, and everything needed to
support and organize this process.
B. Documentation of lessons
Documentation of the ndings and reections is crucial for the sharing
of lessons. In this step, the ndings and reections are processed and
documented. This can be done in various ways, ranging from traditional
reports to websites, blogs, and videos. Without such documentation, it is
very difcult to share the lessons and preserve them for other living labs,
as well as for the living lab concerned. Without such documentation,
lessons tend to remain personal experiences, which are lost when project
members leave the group. Again, this should be centrally managed to
ensure that lessons are drawn.
77
C. Contextualisation of lessons
Lessons also need contextualization to understand why some actions
and activities succeeded or failed in the particular situation of the living
lab, and to determine their broader meaning and applicability. During
this step, the generated and documented lessons are triangulated with
existing knowledge from theory and praxis.
The contextualization of lessons has proved to be of the utmost
importance in facilitating an overarching learning structure that permits
replication of solutions of the living lab in other urban contexts, which
is the ultimate aim of living labs. The replication of solutions is nothing
more than the adoption of lessons generated elsewhere. Actors adopt
lessons on the basis of awareness, interest, evaluation, and trial. If
lessons are not contextualized, the solution will not work in the context in
which the potential adopter evaluates and tests the lesson, and adoption
will be rejected.
D. Sharing of lessons
Finally, to facilitate overarching learning mechanisms that go beyond the
individual lab, it is important to share the generated, documented, and
contextualized lessons.
Make the lessons accessible
In practice, we often see the unconstructive development of a certain
eld of knowledge due to a lack of sharing of the knowledge generated
in various places of experimentation. It is impossible to adopt lessons
if they are not accessible. Making the documented and contextualized
lessons available to a broader audience is indispensable for the sharing
of lessons from a living lab process. This can be done through numerous
outlets, such as a website, a documentary, or a scientic publication.
Generate exposure
Generating exposure can raise awareness of and invoke interest in the
newly generated lessons of a living lab by potential replicators. This can
Figure 18. Stages of adoption
(Rogers, 1995)
Knowledge
(Awareness)
Persuasion
(Insterest)
Decision
(Evaluation)
Implementation
(Trail)
Confirmation
(Adoption)
(Interest)
ial)
78
already be done during the development and implementation process,
by looking for exposure through media coverage, presence at events,
participation in competitions, etc., and by making sure that the living lab
and the lessons learned are found when looked for (through well-spread
contact information or a website). The impact of utilizing social and other
media and employing marketing strategies to enlarge exposure and
elicit interest should not be underestimated.
TIP – Join a network
Formalized networks in which a number of people and organizations are
connected under the ag of a specic interest or cause have been men-
tioned before as playing a part in knowledge exchange, the provision of
inspiration, the formation of partnerships, and the diffusion of innovations.
These networks, in which specialized actors come together, are the places
par excellence in which knowledge is collected for replication. Therefore, if
you haven’t already joined a network, now is the time to do it to share your
lessons.
TIP – Attend events
Exposure of the lessons learned in the living lab can also be generated by
sharing at events. Events typically provide a large audience that, in the case
of specialized events such as congresses or thematic sessions, might even
resonate with the topic of your lessons.
TIP – Participate in competitions
The studied innovations in Amsterdam have shown that prizes often imply
media attention. This can generate a lot exposure for the project, offer an
organized platform to communicate the project, and yield fund-ing because
of the prize money often involved (which, although granted after the act, is
always welcome to further improve and disseminate). However, to be able
to grasp this opportunity, you need to participate in a competition. Make the
move! Often, there is nothing to lose.
Mind the formulation
Finally, when sharing the lessons, attention should be paid to the form in
which they are shared. The lessons should be relevant, understandable,
operational, and complete, in order to evoke interest and facilitate
evaluation and trial.
79
STEP 7. Dissemination
Draw lessons
Store lessons
Generalize lessons
Make lessons
accessible Generate exposure
Mind the formulation
R
E
F
L
E
C
T
I
O
N
D
O
C
U
M
E
N
T
A
T
I
O
N
S
H
A
R
I
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G
C
O
N
T
E
X
T
U
A
L
I
S
A
T
I
O
N
Figure 19. Process visualization of
the recommended dissemination
steps and building blocks in the
living lab way of working
80
Chapter 2 A Living Lab Way of Working
STEP 8. Replication
The nal step in a successful living lab is replication, referring to the
reproduction of the developed innovation in other urban contexts.
A. The decision for replicate
Replication does not occur unless somebody decides to do so. This
decision can come from two sides: Either from the innovation-generating
living lab wanting to scale up the innovation through enlargement or
replication, or from external actors who are interested in the innovation
and want to adopt the solution. In both cases, actors who are willing
to replicate the innovation and the managers of the innovation in
the implementation phase, will have to get in touch and arrange the
replication process.
B. Implementation of the innovation in the context
of replication
When replicating the innovation, part of the development process should
be repeated. The development conditions (provided in the conditions
map on page 39) have to be satised to support the development
activities necessary to t the innovation in the new context. This capacity
has to be organized, and can be provided by the same actors as in the
initial innovation, or by other actors.
C. Sustainment of the innovation in context of replication
Also the conditions for sustaining the innovation in the context of
replication apply. The same recommendations as in the implementation
phase of the living lab way of working apply, including the fulllment of
development conditions (page 39) for the medium-/long-term sustaining
and further development of the innovation and the ensuring of the
presence of users.
The successful replication of the innovative product of a living lab
manifests adoption of the lessons of a living lab, indicating a retention of
learning in the larger urban innovation system.
81
STEP 8. Replication
Figure 20. Process visualization
of the recommended replication
steps and building blocks in the
living lab way of working
Decision for
replication
Covering the conditions for
implementing the innovation
in the context of replication
Covering the conditions for
sustaining the innovation
in the context of replication
I
N
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T
I
A
T
I
V
E
F
I
T
T
I
N
G
O
F
T
H
E
I
N
N
O
V
A
T
I
O
N
S
U
S
T
A
I
N
I
N
G
T
H
E
I
N
N
O
V
A
T
I
O
N
82
List of figures
Figure 1. The dening characteristics of urban living labs
Figure 2. The distinction between a living lab and a living lab platform
Figure 3. Division of 90 sustainable urban innovation projects in
Amsterdam according to the innovation activities focused on in the
project
Figure 4. Division of 90 sustainable urban innovation projects in
Amsterdam according to the degree of user involvement intended in
the project activities
Figure 5. The steps in the living lab way of working
Figure 6. A rst-contact communication infrastructure between the
living lab stakeholders
Figure 7. Advantages and disadvantages of the living lab approach
Figure 8. The living lab stakeholders
Figure 9. Process visualization of the recommended initiation steps
and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 10. The awareness–interest cycle that represents the pattern of
people interactions leading up to partnerships
Figure 11. Map of recurring conditions for development,
implementation and replication of innovations
Figure 12. Process visualization of the recommended plan
development steps and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 13. The transition from a hierarchical to a network collaboration
structure necessary for co-creative development in living labs
Figure 14. Process visualization of the recommended co-creative
design steps and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 15. Process visualization of the recommended implementation
steps and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 16. Process visualization of the recommended evaluation
steps and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 17. Process visualization of the recommended renement steps
and building blocks in the living lab way of working
83
Figure 18. Stages of adoption (Rogers, 1995)
Figure 19. Process visualization of the recommended dissemination
steps and building blocks in the living lab way of working
Figure 20. Process visualization of the recommended replication steps
and building blocks in the living lab way of working
84
List of Visuals and Sources
1. Front cover
De Ceuvel
Photo: Martin van Wijk
2. Rear cover
AMS Institute
Artist: Jorick Beijer
Copyright: AMS Institute
3. Preface photo - page 6
Ferry towards Amsterdam Central Station
Photo: Arjan van Timmeren
Copyright: AMS Institute
4. Page 8-9
Dynamisch Masterplan Buiksloterham
Copyright: Studioninedots | DELVA Landscape Architects
5. Page 17
Café De Ceuvel
Copyright: Metabolic
6. Page 19
Self-build homes in the Bosrankstraat, Buiksloterham
Photo: Sanne Van den Aakster
7. Page 21
Hemelswater Code Blond
Copyright: Hemelswater B.V.
8. Page 23
Sowing at Urban Solution Sloterdijk III
Copyright: Gemeente Amsterdam
9. Page 24-25
Audience at the event “Knowledge Mile Boiling”
Photo: Lyke de Wit, Lyke Fotograe
Copyright: the Knowledge Mile
85
11. Page 32
Visualization Floriade Almere 2022
Copyright: MVRDV
10. Page 39
Ballot box at the event the “Knowledge Mile Boiling”
Photo: Lyke de Wit, Lyke Fotograe
Copyright: the Knowledge Mile
12. Page 57
Logistics
Copyright: AMS Institute
13. Page 59
Website of the Knowledge Mile
Copyright: Royalty free
14. Page 63
Kohnstammhof
Photo: Lyke de Wit, Lyke Fotograe
Copyright: the Knowledge Mile
15. Page 73
View of the Amsterdam ArenA
Copyright: Amsterdam ArenA
16. Page 75
Solar panels
Copyright: Royalty free
All these visuals are used with permission
86
Appendix I
List of 90 scanned sustainable
innovation projects
1. Amsterdam Rainproof
https://www.rainproof.nl/het-verhaal
2. Mediamatic Aquaponics
https://www.mediamatic.net/nl/page/46417/aquaponics-at-mediamatic-fabriek
3. Ship to Grid
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/ship-to-grid
4. Park 2020
http://www.park2020.com/nl/ons-team/
5. Houthaven 100% klimaatneutraal
https://www.nuon.com/activiteiten/producten-en-diensten/stadswarmteprojecten/houthaven-amsterdam/
6. Urban Solution Sloterdijk III
https://www.amsterdameconomicboard.com/hennep
7. De Klimaatstraat
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/label/Klimaatstraat?lang=nl
8. Sustainable Neighborhood Geuzenveld
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/13/slug/sustainable-neighborhood-geuzeveld
9. Cargohopper
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/products/cargohopper
10. Mokum Mariteam
http://www.mokummariteam.nl/
11. WeGo Fleet Mobility
https://eet-mobility.nl/eet/personenautos/3433-amsterdam-deelt-met-wego
12. Amsterdecks
http://www.amsterdecks.com/
13. Innovative Energy Contract E-harbors Zaanstad
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/50/slug/e-harbours-zaanstad
14. Rooftop Revolution
http://www.rooftoprevolution.nl/
15. City-zen Retrotting
http://www.cityzen-smartcity.eu/ressources/building-retrotting/residential-retrot-in-amsterdam/
16. Oosterlicht
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/125/slug/oosterlicht-project-of-zuiderlicht
17. Zonstation 1
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/zonstation-1
18. De Dakdokters
http://dakdokters.nl/#onzemissie
19. Aquatic plants transform into bench
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/aquatic-plants-transform-into-bench
20. Smart Light
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-light
21. Sustainable symbiosis between Art and Greenhouse
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/duurzame-symbiose-tussen-kunst-en-kas
22. City-zen: Comfort cooling residential buildings in Houthaven district
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/city-zen-comfort-cooling-residential-buildings-in-houthaven-district
23. Innovation Lab “Food Village”
http://www.creativecitylab.nl/food-village-in-amsterdam-noord-het-lab-heeft-een-haalbare-business-case-
opgeleverd
24. City-zen Smart Grid – Vehicle2grid
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/city-zen-smart-grid-in-amsterdam-nieuw-west
87
25. City-zen Smart Grid – Virtual Power Plant
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/city-zen-virtual-power-plant
26. Commercial Waste in the Wnner City
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/commercial-waste-in-the-inner-city
27. Smart street lighting powered by direct current at Port of Amsterdam
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-street-lighting-powered-by-direct-current-at-port-of-
amsterdam-4t01ug3v
28. Wasted lab
https://wastedlab.nl/en/
29. Smart Sport Parks
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-sport-parks
30. Smart City Experience Lab
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-city-experience-lab
31. Metabolic Lab
http://www.metaboliclab.nl/
32. City-zen Test Living Lab
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/85/slug/city-zen-test-living-lab
33. Digital Mile
http://www.innovatie-estafette.nl/article/11061/High-Five-Marije-de-Vreeze-
34. iBeacon Living Lab
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/104/slug/ibeacon-living-lab
35. IoT Living Lab
http://iotlivinglab.com/
36. Implementation of Fuel cell technology in De Groene Bocht in Amsterdam
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/16/slug/fuel-cell-technology
37. Flexible street lighting
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/exible-street-lighting
38. RELOADIT
http://www.smart-circle.org/smartcity/uncategorized/smart-energy-system-zaanstand-reloadit/
39. Self-sufcient Pampus
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/self-sufcient-pampus
40. Smart Wasting in Amsterdam
http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/smart-wasting-in-amsterdam/
41. Waterbestendig Westpoort
http://www.must.nl/projecten/waterbestendige-westpoort/
42. Rain Sense
http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/rain-sense/
43. De Praktijkproef
https://www.praktijkproefamsterdam.nl/over-ppa
44. Smart Students
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-students
45. Smart Electric Energy Boat
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-electric-energy-boat
46. Green Innovation Cluster Living Lab
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/green-innovation-cluster
47. Saving energy while others pay the bill – Living lab at the student hotel
http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/saving-energy-when-others-pay-the-bill/
48. Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab
http://waag.org/nl/project/amsterdam-smart-citizens-lab
49. Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center
http://www.amsterdamarena.nl/innovation-center-2.htm
50. Myco designlab
https://www.mediamatic.net/nl/page/222636/myco-design-lab
51. Adept Ambient Intelligence Lab
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/adept-ambient-intelligence-lab
88
52. Clean Capital
http://www.cleancapital.nl/over/wie-we-zijn/
53. GEYSER
http://datacenterworks.nl/2014/04/11/eu-project-geyser-van-start-integratie-van-datacenters-in-smart-grids-
en-smart-cities/
54. RECURF
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/recurf
55. Smart trafc management
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-trafc-management
56. Amsterdam Smart City Urban living labs: Zuidoost
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/living-labs
57. Website data.amsterdam.nl
https://data.amsterdam.nl/
58. CitySDK
https://www.citysdk.eu/
59. Energie Atlas
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/71/slug/energy-atlas?lang=nl
60. Social Sensing on Demand
http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/social-sensing-on-demand-2/
61. City Alerts
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/city-alerts
62. Urban Mobility Lab
http://www.ams-institute.org/solution/urban-mobility-lab/
63. Urban Management Fieldlab: Jongeren en Schulden
http://www.hva.nl/urban-management/gedeelde-content/projecten/projecten-algemeen/jongeren-en-
schulden.html?origin=bVAupf8DRFq3wncBL2383Q
64. Living Lab Het Amstelhuis
http://www.hva.nl/urban-vitality/living-labs/amstelhuis---living-lab/het-amstelhuis.html
65. Crowd Management at Sail 2015
http://www.ams-institute.org/news/crowd-management-at-sail/
66. Creative City Lab
http://www.creativecitylab.nl/creative-city-lab/introductie
67. Fair Meter
http://waag.org/nl/project/fair-meter
68. De Groene Grachten
http://www.degroenegrachten.nl/
69. Amsterdam Smart City Urban living labs: Nieuw-West
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/living-labs
70. Amsterdam Smart City Urban living labs: IJburg
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/living-labs
71. 3D building eldlab
http://mx3d.com/about/partners/3d-building-eldlab/
72. E-mobility & City Logistics
http://www.hva.nl/kc-techniek/gedeelde-content/projecten/projecten-algemeen/icoonproject-2---elektrische-
stadsdistributie-copy.html
73. PICO
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/pico
74. Smart Entrepreneurial Lab
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/smart-entrepreneurial-lab
75. Circle Scan Amsterdam
http://www.circle-economy.com/developing-a-roadmap-for-the-rst-circular-city-amsterdam/
76. Waste EcoSmart
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/waste-ecosmart
77. RE-ORGANISE
http://www.hva.nl/kc-techniek/gedeelde-content/projecten/projecten-algemeen/re-organise.html
78. PlantageLAB
https://www.plantagelab.nl/
89
79. Bouw je Eigen Buurt
http://www.watertorenberaad.nl/pilots/bouw-je-eigen-buurt-sluisbuurt-amsterdam/
80. Urban Management Fieldlab: Kijk! Een gezonde wijk
http://www.hva.nl/urban-management/gedeelde-content/projecten/projecten-algemeen/kijk-een-gezonde-
wijk.html
81. Urban Management Fieldlab: De klimaatbestendige wijk
http://www.hva.nl/urban-management/gedeelde-content/projecten/projecten-algemeen/klimaatbestendige-
wijk.html
82. De Ceuvel
http://deceuvel.nl/nl/about/general-information/
83. Knowledge Mile
http://www.hva.nl/create-it/onderzoek/knowledge-mile/knowledge-mile.html
84. Cruquius Circulair
http://www.cruquiusconnects.nl/
85. Freezone Centrum Nieuw-West
https://www.amsterdam.nl/ondernemen/freezone/freezone-nieuw-west/
86. Freezone Jan Evertsenstraat
https://www.amsterdam.nl/ondernemen/freezone/freezone-jan/
87. Freezone Rijnstraat
https://www.amsterdam.nl/ondernemen/freezone/freezone-rijnstraat/
88. Circulair Buiksloterham
https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/circulair-buiksloterham
89. Living Lab Sloterdijk III
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/data/le/brochure_living_lab_v4_druk_def.pdf
90. Energiek ZuidOost
http://oud.amsterdamsmartcity.com/projects/detail/id/49/slug/energetic-zuidoost?lang=nl
90
91
Colophon
Urban Living Labs: A Living Lab Way of Working
AMS Research report 2016-2017
Date Published:
June 2017
First edition
Research and text:
Ir. Kris (K.Y.G.) Steen
Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
Prof.dr. Ellen (E.M.) Van Bueren
Delft University of Technology
Text: Kris (K.Y.G.) Steen & Ellen (E.M.) Van Bueren
Design: Virpi Heybroek
Contact: ofce@ams-institute.org
Copyright: AMS Institute
www.ams-institute.org
96
Urban Living Labs Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions
... In Table 1, we present the different stakeholders and their needs from the DHLL, followed by a further Power/interest matrix of stakeholders ( Figure 2). Our approach to systematically identify the relevant stakeholders was informed by the study of Manzini (47) and followed the steps for stakeholder selection (48) as described in the AgriLink Living Lab Toolbox (49). Applying these guidelines, we started by defining stakeholders, . ...