How to keep a living lab alive?

Joëlle Mastelic (Institute of Entrepreneurship & Management, University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland)
Marlyne Sahakian (Industrial Ecology Group, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland)
Riccardo Bonazzi (Institute of Entrepreneurship & Management, University of Applied Science Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Publication date: 8 June 2015



This paper aims to explore how Living Labs might be evaluated, building on the current efforts of the European Network of Living Lab (ENoLL) to encourage new members, and complementing their existing criteria with elements from business model development strategies – specifically the Business Model Canvas (BMC) (Osterwalder and Pigneur, 2010).


First, it is explored how Living Labs have emerged, at the intersection of transition management, open innovation and collaborative consumption. It is then suggested that the BMC could be a complementary tool in Living Lab evaluation.


This tool helped identify three important elements missing from current ENoLL evaluation criteria: identification of the cost structure, customer segments and the revenue stream. The case study of an Energy Living Lab created in Western Switzerland is used to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of different evaluation criteria; this paper is then concluded with some ideas on how future research might contribute to further strengthening Living Lab evaluation process towards long-term “sustainability”.


This article will be of value for ENoLL to refine their evaluation criteria for the next “wave” of application. It could as well help living labs to reflect on how to keep a living lab alive.



Mastelic, J., Sahakian, M. and Bonazzi, R. (2015), "How to keep a living lab alive?", info, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 12-25.

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