Core to the philosophy of Smart Cities is to develop solutions together with all involved parties. From government, to commercial companies, knowledge institutions and of course citizens. This happens best in a ‘Living Lab’, where a part of a Smart City is designated for experimentation and innovation in a specific subject.
The focus of such a lab is co-creation between parties. This is especially interesting when it comes to the citizens living in the lab: they are not just subjects, but actually part of the eco-system that leads to the realization of innovative solutions with societal gains. In this way the gap between developers and end-users is closed, making sure that solutions actually address the specific demands of citizens and fit in the constraints of a living city.
Using a Living Lab is, of course, very interesting from a research perspective. You can’t get much closer to the real world. But they also have enormous potential for commercial parties and start-ups. They give great opportunities for testing and refining solutions. Maybe more importantly: they help companies find out if there is demand for their product. In short, they can learn to earn. For this reason, many cities have started Living Labs.