The paradigm shift of living labs in service co-creation for smart cities: SynchroniCity Validation

Francesca Spagnoli*, Shenja van der Graaf, Martin Brynskov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


In the literature there are many definitions of co-creation and several disciplines are involved within this approach, especially co-design, participatory design and open innovation. Co-creation has been linked with many tools and platforms, without a coherent framework and specific guiding principles to follow, especially within the smart cities’ context for developing new services. For this reason, it is required to clearly define which are the methods and digital tools that cities should pursue to fully exploit the potential of these platforms in terms of enhancing global collaborations. Starting from the review of the literature on participatory design, co-creation and open innovation, the paper aims to discuss the role of Living Labs in supporting service design for smart cities, by providing an effective approach for involving stakeholders in real life experimentation through digital platforms. The evaluation has taken into account the current use of co-creation approaches by eight smart cities involved in the SynchroniCity project, and considered as the current best practices in Europe. The analysis focused on timing, stakeholders, activities for involving citizens, rewarding systems, tools and metrics used to investigate the success of their implementation. Ten methods and twelve tools have been selected as the one best supporting smart cities in service design and their real application has been investigated through an online questionnaire and in depth interviews to the cities. As a result of the study, Living Lab has resulted as the most used and effective method for the smart cities in the EU for service design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOrganizing for digital innovation : at the interface between social media, human behavior and inclusion
Publication dateJan 2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-90500-6
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
SeriesLecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation


  • Co-creation
  • Internet of things
  • Living labs
  • Participatory design
  • Service design
  • Smart cities


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