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Innovate dementia: the development of a living lab protocol to evaluate interventions in context

Rens Brankaert (Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Elke den Ouden (Department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
Aarnout Brombacher (Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 8 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to propose a Living Lab protocol to evaluate interventions for people with dementia in context. The number of people with dementia is continuously growing, resulting in all kinds of societal challenges. As there is no cure for the diseases today, there is a need to look at alternative ways to combat these challenges, like the design of suitable interventions. These can support people with dementia to live more independent, with a higher quality of life. The protocol is developed over three Living Lab cases. In this, the authors focus on how to involve people living with dementia and the Living Lab stakeholder network.


Over three Living Lab cases, 26 people with dementia, and their caregivers, participated. In these cases, the authors focussed on three different interventions, namely: a reminder system, a daylight lamp and a mobile interface. Yet, a similar protocol was implemented that was built upon insights from its previous case. Hereby, the authors gathered hands-on insights concerning the design and implementation of a Living Lab protocol. Finally, the authors propose a protocol for those interested in pursuing similar goals.


For the resulting proposal, the authors found that it is important to actively involve the relevant Living Lab stakeholders from the start of the process. Because, first, care stakeholders protect participants as gatekeepers, and have a general interest in the interventions. Second, for industry stakeholders, the in-context Living Lab set-up needs to be aligned with their needs to gather usable insights for their interventions. Finally, the authors propose to keep the users engaged beyond the studies by facilitating a Living Lab community. This leads to a higher user engagement and a wider pool to select from for future Living Lab sessions.

Research limitations/implications

However, the authors have to be careful to base conclusions on this protocol, due to the limited number of participants and, therefore, the authors suggest this is investigated further. Additionally, the authors feel the role of stakeholders, and who is in the lead, should be investigated further.

Practical implications

By reflecting on three Living Lab cases, the authors propose a ready-to-use Living Lab protocol that can be applied by anybody who is interested to design more suitable interventions for impaired users.

Social implications

The building of a community as a basis of a Living Lab provides opportunities for all relevant stakeholders, and could reach beyond the development of interventions.


The paper provides hands-on insights on applying and developing a Living Lab protocol. This is done by structurally involving relevant stakeholders, while continuously adapting to the user’s needs. Only by continuing to do so, the societal challenges can successfully be addressed.



This study is part of the Innovate Dementia project, funded by the Interreg IVB North West Europe programme. The authors would like to thank the mental health-care institute, Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg Eindhoven, for their effort as partner in this Living Lab. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank the companies behind the Vitaallicht® and the GolivePhone® concepts for providing the interventions and collaborating intensively in our Living Lab network.


Brankaert, R., Ouden, E.d. and Brombacher, A. (2015), "Innovate dementia: the development of a living lab protocol to evaluate interventions in context", info, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 40-52.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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