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Participatory Innovation Spaces: Does participation lead to social benefits?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Innovation is a solution being called for in response to social, environmental, and economic problems. The methods of innovation are numerous, but one popular method in Europe has been the development of living labs. Living labs involve partnerships between diverse stakeholders, e.g. public and private institutions, individuals, NGOs, and universities and aim to develop innovative solutions using real-world conditions. The European Union has provided strong funding and support for living labs as part of an effort to develop an innovation network in Europe. Many living labs include public participation as well as projects designed to solve current policy issues, such as eldercare and environmental issues. Thus, living labs incorporate a promise of democratic governance through their use of public participation and social benefit through the development of new technological innovation. However, despite the positioning of living labs as being led by citizens and being for social benefit, living labs are also used to support business development. Since living labs are a recent phenomenon, there is very little research that critically analyzes living labs or their claims to support democratic participation. This thesis critically assesses three very different living labs from the perspective of participatory governance. One living lab had a strong participatory structure and involved participants in meaningful ways. The research on the other two living labs suggests that in at least these case studies, living labs are not consistently able to incorporate participants in activities related to forms of participatory governance. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 69 p.
Keyword [en]
living labs; participation; participatory governance; social innovation
National Category
Social Sciences Social and Economic Geography Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-125297OAI: diva2:892322
Available from: 2016-01-11 Created: 2016-01-09 Last updated: 2016-01-11Bibliographically approved

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