Sampsa Hyysalo & Louna Hakkarainen:
What difference does a living lab make? Comparing two health technology innovation projects
Available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2014.983936
Living laboratories are increasingly common and promising arrangements in collaborative design. Their strength lies in being real life, open ended, sustained and complex coproduction arrangements, but these characteristics also make it hard to research what difference a living lab collaboration would make – after all the project within a living lab should be quite different to one conducted without it. This paper reports on a rare opportunity to compare two unusually similar innovation projects, one of which relied on a living lab and the other that did not. Contrary to what one might have predicted, the living lab collaboration did not make the development paths very different, and the key challenges regarding design collaboration remained closely similar. Extensive redesign in pilot use, an extended learning period between developers and users, consciously built collaboration arrangements, effective boundary spanners and investment in conflict resolution were equally paramount to success in both cases. The living laboratory did make meeting these challenges quicker, and lessened the strain that redesigns caused to customer relations.