Living Labs as an innovation tool for public value creation: Possibilities and pitfalls

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The aim of the paper is to explore how living labs, as a specific tool of innovation in the public sector focusing on stakeholder and citizen involvement, can enable public value creation with a commitment to democracy. The paper is based on a thorough presentation of living lab literature and two case studies of living labs within Danish local government settings. The paper reveals that living labs within Danish local government are working with multiple notions of what living labs are, the role of citizens in co-creation activities, and how living labs are legitimized. Analyzed through the lens of public value theory and the strategic triangle, the article particularly discusses how living labs can contribute to creating democratic practices that strengthen public value. The paper shows that living labs can facilitate a collaborative and democratic approach to innovation in the public sector, and that there are pitfalls of living labs in creating a vision of citizen engagement rather than a reality of democratic practices of value creation
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalInnovation Journal
Issue number3
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Democracy
  • Living labs
  • Public innovation
  • Public value creation

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