iHub Research participated in a Living Labs Working Group Workshop today, May 8, 2012 at Kunduchi Beach Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The morning was very participatory using sticky notes, and poster boards.
Some findings from Participatory Session:
Stakeholders: Researchers, Community, Government
Motivations: Participation, Support, Profit
Expectations: Development, Services, Better, Regulation
Contribution: Development, Infrastructure, Resources
After lunch, Paul Cunningham (IIMC, Ireland) gave an overview of Existing and Emerging Living Labs in Africa and Recommendations from Report on “Supporting the Evolution of Sustainable Living Labs and Living Labs Networks in Africa.” His talk highlighted that Living Labs have a number of various definitions but do not really have a developing country context yet. He also highlighted that Living Labs are not prescriptive; they are a portfolio of options. His presentation highlighted that there is a high density in Southern Africa and there is beginning to have a high density in East Africa. In Cunningham's presentation, iHub is considered a living lab together with iLab, Nailab, and Map Kibera.
Living Labs have emerged from different technological platforms (incubators, tech parks, etc.). But Living Labs are the layer on top of each platform. The pro-active co-working co-designing are what make Living Labs unique. Cunningham highlighted that the opposite of a Living Lab is not listening to your customers. The fundamental difference, according to Cunningham, between a Living Lab and an incubator is the culture. Living Labs establish a new culture and way of thinking. It is not about a short-term contract; it's about creating a totally new co-ownership, co-sponsoring culture.
Tomorrow, the IST conference will begin in full-swing. Keep posted on the iHub blog for updates or follow the Twitter updates at #istafrica2012.