Today, product development can be done via the Living Lab methodology, a research concept that focuses on users and, therefore, integrate research and innovation processes. Researchers, developers and users co-create innovative products, services or solutions that are based on user needs and directly tested by users.
The first step of the approach is to create ideas, the second is to develop a prototype and the final is testing. Every participant is important in such a innovative process as they collect and develop new ideas. Such approach allows participants to recognize intended usage possibilities and behaviour of the product on the market, experiment with different scenarios in real time and evaluate concepts in accordance to various criteria. It also offers early economic effects of new technological solutions.
The main activities of the Living Lab approach are:
- the development of a particular concept and the development of the prototype;
- the development of a product, the trial production and the testing of the market;
- the commercialization of the market-ready product;
- accessing the market and providing all of the needed materials and activities to successfully enter the market;
- assistance in the certification by obtaining licenses and crucial certificates;
- intellectual property, regarding a particular product or process, and protecting it.
Today, markets are extremely complex, unstable and saturated and businesses with the high level of added value require two main things. The first is the intellectual property that grants a critical competitive advantage on the market. In the modern society, companies based on knowledge and, therefore, high added value, are destined to thrive. The second is the entrepreneur’s wisdom that can be commercialized.
Innovation centres also offer specialized services, such as market analyses, business model overviews, credit ratings, market researches, business plans preparations, business models preparations, financial calculations preparations, together with project feasibility assessments, and translating.