OULLabs (Oulu Urban Living Labs), a living lab managed by the University of Oulu, Finland, has promoted living lab approach for companies and organizations especially in the Oulu region. Recently OULLabs organized co-creation activities the aim of which was to develop new user-driven airport services. In September, OULLabs organized a workshop at the Oulu airport, where users and companies together further developed companies’ solutions for future airport services. The company solutions are the winners of an idea competition called IdeaSprint which was organized by BusinessOulu, OULLabs and 6Aika Open Innovation Platforms project earlier in the spring 2017. OULLabs’ aim is to take the winner solutions to the next level and more user-centric by bringing users, companies and customer company together to co-develop the solutions with the help of living lab methods. The first experience and feedback of the process has been encouraging: companies say they have got a lot of new knowledge and useful feedback from the users and customer company feels this kind of development an easy and productive way to find new, desirable and usable services for their airports. Winner solutions are possibly piloted at the airports.
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Picture: A workshop at the Oulu airport: a group of users and company representative discussing one service solution of future airport .
OULLabs has promoted living lab approach for companies and organizations especially in the Oulu region in Finland. OULLabs expertise has been recognized in the region through several successful living lab activities with companies and public sector. Recently, OULLabs has participated two healthcare related projects WILLE (Wireless Lab Environment for Business) and YSI (University hospitals as innovation platforms). In the WILLE project, the aim of which is to create a service co-creation platform to be used in designing innovative services for the hospital environment, OULLabs specialists Sari Komulainen and Satu Väinämö have actively contributed to the core achievements of the project by designing the Co-creation Model for healthcare testing environment (see picture). The more detailed definition of the model is available here.
In YSI project OULLabs co-operates with two Finnish university hospitals in Turku and in Oulu. OULLabs services, in particular the user involvement open innovation platform PATIO has been used in both cases for evaluation. In Turku, PATIO tool was used in late 2016 for the evaluation of healthcare related needs collected from hospitals and other healthcare organizations. PATIO provided a platform to collect and evaluate these needs in a closed online group which also enabled interaction between the jury members. In Oulu, YSI project organized in the spring 2017 an innovation contest aiming to find solutions for future hospital services. PATIO platform was used also here: a wide group of healthcare professionals evaluated the solutions through PATIO tool. PATIO will be exploited again later this year for the YSI pilot project co-creation phase provided by OULLabs i.a. for involving patients and healthcare professionals to develop the YSI innovation contest winner companies’ solutions together to the next level.
Co-creation practices are also being introduced to develop services at the airport: Finavia IdeaSprint is seeking companies’ solutions for the future airport services. The best solutions selected from IdeaSprint will be further developed together with various stakeholders in accordance with the OULLabs’ co-creation model. Winner solutions are possibly piloted at the Oulu Airport. IdeaSprint for Finavia is organized by BusinessOulu, OULLabs and 6Aika Open Innovation Platforms project.
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The aim of the Future Internet CHallenge eHealth (FICHe) accelerator has been to challenge European startups to develop innovative applications in the eHealth market building upon the FIWARE technology. In the recently ended two-year program, through three phases and altogether 6.24 MEUR funding, the 20 finalist startups, out of the initial 300+ applicants, developed their ideas into successful new eHealth solutions.
According to FICHe Project Coordinator Satu Väinämö, University of Oulu, Finland, FICHe has been a boost as it has accelerated the overall process, planning and fostering the visibility of the product and companies. The added value of FIWARE technology comes from providing a large set of components and an active community which supports and maintains it. The combination of funding, coaching and testing solutions with real end users accelerated the development of the SMEs’ solutions. As Jordina Arcal, from FICHe finalist HealthApp, Spain, puts it: “it was a real incubation process…everyone helping each other.”
By being part of the FICHe program SMEs and startups gained significant growth. With the support of FICHe, the 20 finalists created 150 new jobs, got new customers and partnerships as well as raised extra public and private funding. FICHe program itself has been essential seed funding allowing the startups to set off the ground.
FICHe finalist Netictech, Poland, developed a real-time audio-video communication solution for medical professionals. According to Piotr Pawlowski, Netictech, FICHe program was “the best thing to happen” for their company: they had the opportunity to transfer from research project to markets, and to receive funding, mentoring and acceleration.
The finalists valued the most the network expansion, support received from the mentors and feedback gathered from real users in living labs, besides of the funding. According to them, testing and validation in living labs is the first requirement that an e-Health startup should accomplish in order to get access to the international markets. Different coaching sessions, business webinars and events have also sharpened companies’ view on the business potential beyond the borders of their countries.
The FICHe project partners from Finland, the Netherlands and Spain consider the program as a remarkable opportunity. Myriam Martin from TICBioMed, Murcia, Spain, says FICHe has provided SMS (Servicio Murciano de Salud) a unique tool to boost innovation and competitiveness through piloting and testing the innovative solutions from seven FICHe companies in Murcia living lab. Martin sees that there are clear benefits of the use of innovation and testing labs as they support regional development of healthcare and social welfare. This in turn will increase the quality of healthcare and social welfare services, as well as make the services more affordable.
OULLabs participated Smart City Seminar in Oulu, May 2015.
In addition to exhibition booth, OULLabs was involved in a panel in Living Lab workshop organized durig the seminar.
View OULLabs director Satu Väinämö’s interview in Smart City Seminar:
OULLabs participated the ENoLL Open LivingLab Days in Istanbul, August 2015. In this international conference OULLabs presented and collected Living Lab experiences and good practices.
OULLabs provides services for user driven development in EU funded FICHe (Future Internet CHallenge eHealth) Accelerator project, coordinated by OULLabs Director Satu Väinämö, University of Oulu, Center for Internet Excellence. 80 European eHealth SMEs have been selected among 300+ applicants to the 18 month project where aim is to develop eHealth applications. The applications will exploit the new European FIWARE technology.
In the first phase of the project PATIO service, provided by OULLabs (www.patiolla.fi) will be used for testing and evaluating the ideas as well as collecting feedback from users. In the FICHe bootcamp held in Oulu users and SMEs were brought together to discuss and get feedback of the ideas.
OULLabs and additionally two other Living Labs from Amsterdam and Murcia are involved in FICHe. Living Lab part of Oulu in the project is managed by OULLabs team.
MAINIO project where OULLabs is being developed further, conducts in cooperation with the City of Oulu a multi-channel survey related to Hiukkavaara sports and recreational facilities.The survey and online discussion are open on the PATIO forum and UBI hotspots 1.-14.4.2014.
OULLabs is now available in the XiPi online portal for Future Internet infrastructures. Read more about XiPi here.
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