I changed a few thoughts with Dr Tim Kelly of the World Bank on Living Labs as creative clusters. Dr Kelly finds Living Labs to be a great concept, but, of course, a concept that has its challenges.
Dr Kelly pointed me to mLabs and mHubs as creative innovation clusters, and found them to be a Living Labs concept worth noticing.
mLabs and mHubs, piloted in 2010-2013, were “Living Labs” concepts that aimed to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in so-called “developing countries”.
mLabs were “mobile business acceleration service providers” i.e. collaborative international efforts in building mobile apps, both technology-wise and business-wise.
mHubs focused to community building: they were informal “meeting places” where creative people could mingle, meet and do creative innovative projects. If mLabs were international projects, mHubs were local: they focused to a one city.
Here are some key points that were learned during mLabs and mHubs projects. These points could help in other Living Labs projects as well:
- Importance of one-on-one mentoring: it should be given more emphasis.
- Innovation “competitions” lead to good results, if the competitors are thoroughly supported and helped.
- Building partnerships with stakeholders is essential.
- Events and competitions are useful tools in building partnerships.
- Identifying a right manager/leader is critical to success.
Here’s a link to the full report: http://issuu.com/infodevwbg/docs/mlab_and_mhub_publication