Edinburgh Living Lab is a city-wide collaboration whose founding partners are the City of Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh. Our goal is to bring academia, the public sector, industry and the third sector together in order to work with citizens in co-designing, testing and implementing new services, processes and products that generate social, environmental and economic value. It is radically interdisciplinary and comprises a set of resources, knowledge, tools, and relationships that will develop over time.
The complex problems of modern cities require holistic approaches, and the Living Lab brings together knowledge, experience and partnerships to explore new approaches to innovation, sustainable development and informed policy-making in the city. Our approach combines data-driven analysis and participatory design techniques to support social innovation.
A key part of our conception of a Living Lab includes carrying out participatory research with ‘end users’ through small-scale experiments. This contributes to developing a better understanding of the people and systems in which a proposed intervention or activity is situated and what kind of impact it may have. It is also part of an iterative process of experimenting / refining / redefining an intervention to make sure that it really works in the way that it is intended to.