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EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
EASST - Living Labs and democratisation
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EASST - Living Labs and democratisation

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  • 1. Wouter Mensink, Benoît Dutilleul and Frans A.J. Birrer Democratising technology and innovation: the role of the “participant” in Living Labs
  • 2. Outline of presentation
  • 3. Three roles of participants
    • Three functions of Living Labs may be identified 1, which constitute different participant roles for citizens:
    • (i) Member of innovation system and its governance
    • (ii) Object of study in in vivo experimental settings
    • (iii) Partner in product development platforms
    • __________________________
    • 1 Dutilleul, B., Birrer, F. A. J., & Mensink, W. H. (2010). Unpacking European Living Labs: Analysing Innovation's Social Dimensions. Central European Journal of Public Policy, 4 (1), 60-85.
  • 4. Step 1. Scrutinising Living Lab roles
    • We suggest that in each of these roles, participants are likely to encounter barriers in their attempts to realise their interests (Birrer, 1999; 2001; 2004):
    • Motivational barriers : citizens may experience a discrepancy between their interests and those of other stakeholders
    • Cognitive barriers : citizens may experience difficulties in communicating with stakeholders with different backgrounds
  • 5. Member of innovation system governance
    • Hardly, or no citizen representation in:
    • 212 local governing bodies
    • The European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)
    • www.openlivinglabs.eu
  • 6. Object of study
    • In vivo research in real-life settings: apartments, workspaces, or public spaces monitored with a digital device
    • Not about participants as “guinea pigs”, but about ‘ getting access to their ideas and knowledge’ (Eriksson et al., 2005, p. 3)
    • Barriers:
    • Do “better products” outweigh intrusion in daily life (motivational)?
    • Informed consent (motivational/cognitive)
    • One-way data-gathering (cognitive)
  • 7. Partner in product development
    • Intrinsic motivation to make what you use
    • Barriers
    • Living Labs for ‘ the co-production of technologies between developers and users, and the production of users by technologies’ (Tan et al., 2006, p. 13) (motivational/cognitive)
    • User-centred and user-driven innovation (motivational/cognitive)
  • 8. Step 2. Alternative participants & roles
    • As the current roles of citizen-participants in Living Labs seem insufficient, we considered alternative participants and participant roles; we take inspiration from different approaches to democratising technology and innovation:
    • Von Hippel’s Democratizing innovation (2005)
    • Ideas on democratisation in the Scandinavian participatory design tradition
    • Feenberg’s Democratizing technology (1999)
  • 9. Von Hippel’s lead user
    • One of the main theoretical bases for Living Labs (Følstad, 2008), but not involved in practice (Schuurman & De Marez, 2009)
    • Characteristics:
    • ‘ at the leading edge of market trend(s)’
    • ‘ currently experiencing needs that will later be experienced by many users in that market’
    • ‘ high benefits from obtaining a solution to their needs’
    • ‘ willingness to pay’
  • 10. The “ emancipating worker”
    • Democratic deficit of Living Labs is mostly pointed out by proponents of the Scandinavian participatory design tradition
    • Characteristics:
    • Influence on innovation system development
    • Emancipation by being involved in making better designs
    • Workers supported by trade unions or other action groups
  • 11. Andrew Feenberg’s “ subjugated activist”
    • Feenberg claims that democratisation cannot occur without certain types of “counter-tendencies”
    • Characteristics:
    • Activism of those whose “participant interests” are subjugated by societal developments
  • 12. Relations to other stakeholders
    • Lead users
    • Converging interests with manufacturers
    • Emancipating worker
    • Conflicting interests with managers
    • Subjugated activist
    • Conflicting interests with technocrats
  • 13. Participants and non-participants
    • Lead users
    • Lead users’ interests differ from interests of others
    • Willingness to pay as a basis for democracy?
    • Emancipating worker
    • ‘ [W]hat if the democratic procedure results in [..] the increasing invisibility of a small group of employees?’ (Berg, 1998, p. 480).
    • Subjugated activist
    • ‘ majority of people choose affluence over autonomy’
    • ‘ cost in terms of time and money’ (Veak, 2006, p. xix)
    • ‘ [M]any of the subjugated cannot even step up to the table and make their voices heard’ (Veak, 2000, p. 232)
  • 14. The “horizon”
    • Von Hippel
    • User-based innovation can ‘supplant manufacturer-based innovation systems under some conditions and complement them under most’ (2005, p. 121)
    • ‘ social welfare is likely to be higher in a world in which both users and manufacturers innovate’ (2005, p. 107)
    • Scandinavian tradition
    • Global actions for working-life democracy: regulation and infrastructure projects
    • Feenberg
    • Societal impact of the changes in “technical codes”
    • Resisting technocracy
  • 15. Step 3. Alternative participants and Living Labs Member of innovation system governance Object of study Partner in product development Lead user +/- - + Emancipated worker + - + Subjugated activist + - -
  • 16. Conclusion
    • If Living Labs are to foster democratisation, they may need to make space for new participants and roles
  • 17. Thank you your attention
    • For any questions, or remarks: do not hesitate to approach any of us, now or after the conference:
    • Wouter Mensink: [email_address]
    • Benoît Dutilleul: [email_address]
    • Frans Birrer: [email_address]

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