Living Labs as an Approach to Strengthen Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems

Potters, Jorieke; Collins, Kevin; Schoorlemmer, Herman; Stræte, Egil Petter; Kilis, Emils; Lane, Andrew and Leloup, Heloise (2022). Living Labs as an Approach to Strengthen Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems. EuroChoices, 21(1) pp. 23–29.



Climate and ecosystem changes, economic and policy imperatives, food system pressures, and multiple societal expectations pose complex challenges for sustainable farming. A key problem is determining an effective and efficient approach to enable innovation in complex, multi-stakeholder settings. One approach currently receiving much policy attention and investment in the EU is ‘Living Labs’ which bring together public and private stakeholders to co-create, validate, and test new services, business ideas, markets and technologies. However, the analysis, monitoring and evaluation of Living Labs and their effectiveness and policy value in different contexts is limited. The AgriLink Living Labs were undertaken between 2018 and 2021 in Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Spain to co-create innovation support for improving agricultural sustainability. Our evaluation suggests that four inter-related critical conditions are needed for the success of Living Labs. These relate to the complexity of the challenge, the enabling environment, the proficient facilitation and the energy to move. These conditions influence the functioning of the Living Lab and we discuss the implications for policymakers and practitioners for the deployment of Living Labs in agricultural settings.

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