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Innovate Dementia and the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)

Placed by Joyce de Laat for Innovate Dementia at 2013-12-18

Innovate Dementia and the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)

Diana Roeg, Liselore Snaphaan, Inge Bongers - Mental Health Care Institute Eindhoven and the Kempen (GGzE)


In the Innovate Dementia project, the method of Living Labs is used to enlarge user involvement in the process of innovation development and testing for persons living with dementia. Furthermore, the Living Lab method stands for open ways of innovation, including all relevant stakeholders (from health care providers to small and larger businesses) in open cooperation to come to solid innovations for the target population. Other key principles of the method of Living Lab include: realism (development and evaluation takes place in real live circumstance, for instance the home environment), continuity (transnational collaboration) and spontaneit (to have added value, innovations needs to fit needs and desires and therefore detection and aggregation of spontaneous user's reactions are of high relevance (Bergvall-Kareborn, B. & A.Stahlbrost, 2009, Living Lab - An Open and Citizen-Centric Approach for Innovation. International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development 1 (4) 356-370.


In the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), countries worldwide share their expertise and knowledge about the Living Lab method since 2006, when the ENoLL was founded in Finland. ENoLL member Living Labs represent different sectors, including ICT, agriculture, media and health care. One of the ENoLL activities is the yearly Summer School, where members meet and present the research and innovation activities performed in their Living Lab. Currently, over 300 Living Labs worldwide are part of this network. The headquarters of ENoLL is in Brussels, Belgium. Every year in Spring, new members can apply for membership.


In the Innovate Dementia project we are working together in four Living Labs within Eindhoven, Liverpool, Krefeld and Geel/Antwerpen/Heusden-Zolder/Diest to develop and test social and technical innovations for people living with dementia. The project started in 2012. In this year we included numerous stakeholders, including the end ursers (people living with dementia and their informal care givers), health care institutes, local authorities, universities and business partners, in a search for relevant innovations or ideas for innovations that would support people in their home environment. Als a number of prototypes and innovations was tested by end users in real life.

We joined the ENoLL Summer School in Manchester in 2013 and presented the Innovate Dementia project on the research day. At this moment - end 2013 - we are working on the ecosystem and infrastructure for the Living Labs. Currently we are trying to find a structure to keep working with the four Living Labs after the end of the Innovate project period. In this phase, we as the partners in the Innovate Dementia project, think it is a logical step to become an ENoLL member. This will enlarge our knowledge about the method of Living Lab, help to improve our developmental and research activities for people living with dementia and support in spreading and sharing our knowledge internationally.

In Sprin 2014 there will be a new opportunity for Living Labs interested in joining the ENoLL. The Innovate Dementia project partners have agreed to apply for membership by then.

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