EASST - Living Labs and democratisation

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EASST - Living Labs and democratisation

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

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