Over the past months, I-CHANGE partners Tel Aviv University – Water Research Center (TAU) and West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) have been developing a fascinating report on the experiences of Living Labs in countries outside the EU. While the I-CHANGE project carries out most activities in European countries, additional insights are pursued by establishing Living Labs in Jerusalem and Ouagadougou.
An initial interest in this constellation was the extent to which one could spot variations in the experiences of Living Labs inside and outside the EU. The hypothesis was that regional differences between European countries and Burkina Faso and Israel could potentially influence the Living Lab activities systematically. Interestingly, the research conducted by TAU and WASCAL highlights that such a difference cannot be found. The Living Lab methodology is intrinsically context-sensitive and will have to be adjusted to the local environment wherever it is applied. Regardless, whether a Living Lab is placed in Genova or Jerusalem, it will have to be tailored for the specific region.
The report stresses that contextual adjustments are crucial and that many Living Labs fail to pay sufficient attention to local characteristics and needs. If Living Labs in Ouagadougou and Jerusalem start to look suspiciously similar, it is likely not due to the non-EU placement, but rather a lacking sensitivity to regional context.
By Niels-Kristian Tjelle Holm, Danish Board of Technology