A research paper on living labs by Carleton University’s Mika Westerlund and his international colleagues was awarded the Best Paper on Practical Implications for Technology award at a conference for the International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) in Budapest, Hungary on Monday, June 15, 2015.
The paper entitled Paradoxical tensions in living labs, also authored by Seppo Leminen of Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and Robert DeFillippi of Suffolk University, Boston, U.S., examines the tensions and paradoxes related to open innovation taking place in living labs. Westerlund is an assistant professor at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business.
Their study argues that although the open innovation model is spreading rapidly and living labs are an increasingly popular way to accelerate innovation processes, there is a substantial need for research on innovation mechanism in living labs. The authors focused on three main classes of tensions that characterize open innovation in living labs; management, users and the way of working.
Based on an empirical analysis of 103 interviews in 26 living labs in four countries, the study proposes that living labs foster emergence of paradoxical tensions. Identified paradoxes include, for example, the fact that living labs encourage conflict and collision which accelerate innovation development and that the involvement of new inexperienced users speeds up product development.
The results are significant because paradoxes that foster innovation in living labs are seen as a hindrance in other forms of innovation. The authors hope the results help technology companies to understand the nature and characteristics of living labs and encourage firms to utilize living labs for innovation. There are currently over 370 accredited living labs globally.
ISPIM a network of researchers, industrialists, consultants and public bodies who share an interest in innovation management. Founded in 1983 by Prof. Knut Holt in Norway, ISPIM is the oldest, largest and most active innovation association in Europe.