The Living Labs have an important role to play in improving trust in society as “with the engagement of different stakeholders in the conversation -citizens, scientists, companies, public authorities and policy makers- we can create more trust which is key for the creation of bold innovative solutions” Tuija Hirvikoski, ENoLL President
The European Network of Living Labs is the network of open and citizen-centric innovation ecosystems, European born but with global outreach. Over the past 10 years ENoLL has strived to create an open innovation infrastructure that empowers everyone to innovate, co-creating means and value with and for European citizens. As a result of this work the ENoLL President Tuija Hirvikoski has been awarded with the prestigious 2016 Innovation Luminary Award for Open Innovation Infrastructure Creation on behalf of the ENoLL Living Lab movement.
ENoLL: how it all started
The collaboration and dialogue between ENoLL and the European Commission has deep roots. ENoLL was founded in November 2006 under the auspices of the Finnish European Presidency, strongly focused at that time on competitiveness and the development of new innovation policies and practices to create an innovation friendly environment in Europe. During the following years conversations with the EC have been regular, open and they actually helped ENoLL find right ways to channel its gradual growth towards sustainability. Back in 2010 ENoLL was in dialogue with DG INFSO, DG ENTR and other Commission DGs discussing the role of Living Labs for innovative public procurement. The network contributed to CIP Smart City-portfolio (DG Information Society) with a number of submissions, 3 accepted projects including ENoLL Living Labs and contribution to the discussion over the role of Living Labs and user-driven innovation for smart cities, including constructive panel discussions organised with representatives of the DG Information Society.
In 2011 and after being invited by representatives of the European Commission, ENoLL contributed to assess progress of the EU Digital Agenda for Local and Regional Development. During the same year ENoLL representatives brought forward Living Labs as a tool to break innovation barriers in the context of the European Innovation Partnership for Healthy Ageing. This led to the public commitment to the EIP AHA in 2012, to contribute to interoperable independent living solutions with special focus on application, organizational and service interoperability.
ENoLL and the Committee of the Regions
Since its birth ENoLL entered into dialogue with the Committee of the Regions and officials like Mr Markku Markkula (President of CoR), collaborating on a number of tracks, attending CoR events, meetings regularly its representatives and inviting them to ENoLL workshops and roundtables to discuss role of Living Labs for effective regional development strategies.
Before the launch of H2020 ENoLL contributed to CoR consultations on the establishment of H2020 programme emphasizing the importance among others of open innovation knowledge and job creation. The work continues as the ENoLL President has been recently invited to play a part in the H2020 mid-term review in the context of the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP). ENoLL President Tuija Hirvikoski has been recently nominated as member of this platform to bring in the voice of European Living Labs and give advice on how to further implement open science policy to improve the impact of European science as asked by Commissioner Moedas.
ENoLL and Smart Cities
Looking at cities it is worth highlighting that ENoLL has strongly contributed to the foundation of the Connected Smart Cities network, then evolved into the Open and Agile Smart Cities Initiative. This is a global network connecting cities, advocating de facto standards, and sharing best practices among cities. Also, ENoLL stood up for the European Capital of Innovation Award – iCapital since its inception in 2013 and is currently supporting its delegates at DG Research & Innovation to promote its 2017 call for applications.
The content of this opinion piece does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author.