Other publications

What is a Living Lab?

An innovative approach, an advantageous research method and a key step in the continuous improvement of our health care system. In a living laboratory, the people who benefit from the care and services become stakeholders, on the same level as the other parties involved

By Maude-Émilie Pépin, Liaison and support to Living Labs on major neurocognitive disorders

General description of the living lab concept

Living labs are defined as open, user-centered innovation ecosystems based on a systematic co-creation approach, integrating research and innovation processes in real communities and settings.

Source: European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)

A new and innovative approach

Living labs put people at the heart of the process and contribute significantly to the co-creation of solutions. This advance marks the field of research and changes the process according to which users were seen more as an object of investigation.

An advantageous research method

Living Labs aim to address concrete issues in a variety of fields ranging from agriculture to health, tourism, environment and participatory democracy. (Free translation)

Source: Dubé P, Sarrailh J, Billebaud C, et al. Qu’est-ce qu’un Living Lab? Le livre blanc des Living Labs. Montréal: Umvelt, 2014:133.

The rise of this new research methodology is changing perspectives in a significant way. Indeed, within a living laboratory, the people who benefit from the care and services become bearers, at the same level as the other parties involved. In this way, the efficiency of the process of appropriation of innovations is improved by the real-life context and, by the same token, provides a new response to contemporary challenges.

The relevance of living labs in health care

In the digital age, the healthcare industry has never been more committed to prevention and empowering patients to take responsibility for their own health. Patient partners are proactively and continuously involved in shared decision-making for their care. Indeed, the adoption of an active rather than passive posture by patients promotes improvement in care transitions.

Living health labs stand out because of their ability to involve users in addressing collective issues in a collaborative manner. Experimentation in real conditions contributes to improving practices and adds an evolutionary character that favours the support of change.

The joint involvement of the various people and organizations that act in the health and social services network contributes to the advancement of an open and committed approach that, in a real-life and privileged context, allows the development of innovative solutions to complex problems.

Case Study

Closing rural ERs: what if the solution was outside the box? Find out how the announcement that Baie-Saint-Paul’s emergency department would be shut down between 4pm and 8am in the summer of 2021 has given Living Lab Charlevoix a chance to prove itself. Read the article in French

To read more on the topic

Dubé P, Sarrailh J, Billebaud C, et al. Qu’est-ce qu’un Living Lab? Le livre blanc des Living Labs. Montréal: Umvelt, 2014:133.

European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)

Diaz L, Potvin A. EDS Integrated Approach for Sustainability (EDS-IA): Campus as a Living Laboratory Experience. In: Leal Filho W, et al. (eds) Universities as Living Labs for Sustainable Development. World Sustainability Series. Springer, Cham. 2020. (Version française: L’approche intégrée EDS (AI-EDS): les campus comme laboratoires vivants)

Fleet R. A Canadian Rural Living Lab Hospital: Implementing solutions for improving rural emergency care. Future Healthc J. 2020 Feb;7(1):15-21. doi: 10.7861/fhj.2019-0067. PMID: 32104760; PMCID: PMC7032583.

Hossain M, Leminen S, Westerlund M. A Systematic Review of Living Lab Literature. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 213, 2019, pp. 976-988.

Picard R, Poilpot L. Rapport du CGIET. Pertinence et valeur du concept de «Laboratoire vivant» (Living Lab) en santé et autonomie. 2011.

Réf. : European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)

Réf. : Dubé P, Sarrailh J, Billebaud C, et al. Qu’est-ce qu’un Living Lab? Le livre blanc des Living Labs. Montréal: Umvelt, 2014:133.