Laurea Living Labs: Integrating research and innovation research in real life communities and settings
Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Laurea is a research- and development-oriented university of applied sciences in the greater Helsinki region. Laurea produces new competences in the field of service innovations and carries out professionally orientated education, regional development and R&D activities by following the Learning by Developing (LbD) operational model. Laurea employs approximately 500 personnel and has app. 8 000 students. Laurea’s strategic research areas are Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Health and Social Integrity, Service Business and Coherent Security.
Laurea has a long history of multidisciplinary user-driven approach to regional development and RDI activities in parallel to the practice-based, award winning Learning by Developing (LbD) model (integrating students in real-life projects with the companies and SMEs in the region).
Laurea Living Labs
Laurea’s strategic choice is to integrate its three tasks: education, R&D and regional development. Laurea Living Labs Network serves the integration of the three tasks in the optimal way. Living labs are user-centred open innovation ecosystems integrating research and innovation research in real life communities and settings. Laurea Living Labs Network collaborate with research institutions, companies, public agencies, citizens, and users for investigating and creating new products and services. Living labs enable facing economic and social challenges with novel technological opportunities and professional practices and speed up competitive business and value creation models for the national and global markets.
Laurea is strengthening its role as an intermediary at the regional, national and international levels by developing networks and culture of innovation, and sharing platforms, methodologies and evidence-based knowledge. Laurea has been an active member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) since its establishment in 2006.
According to its strategic choice, Laurea gathers different actors and stakeholders to accelerate innovation activities through mutual sharing and learning.
Living labs as real-life environments
Laurea employs many kinds of real-life environments as living labs. Authentic contexts stimulate creativity and multi-level learning as well as reveal complex connections between technological, social and economic challenges. They boost practice-based innovation and the rapid testing of ideas and prototypes. Knowledge is created through multi-voiced dialogue that supports learning in individuals, organisations and regions. Living labs engage students in solving authentic problems and developing client-empowering practices, as well as fostering new competences related to innovation and co-creation. Collaborative learning is essential for developing innovation ecosystems. Laurea’s seven campuses provide permanent development environments.