Exploring living labs: innovating for water security

Photo by: David Ellis, Future Water

Living labs – where experimentation meets innovation – are sparking a revolution in problem-solving. These real-life environments champion co-creation and open innovation, offering a ground for the birth of novel ideas. Defined by the European Network of Living Labs as user-centric innovation ecosystems, they are the breeding ground for collaborative research and innovation within real communities. Their rising prominence owes to their unique ability to tackle intricate challenges while considering the needs of diverse stakeholders-citizens, governments, industry, and academia.

In the context of addressing the pressing challenge of water security in the 21st century, one proposed solution is water-sensitive design. This approach revolves around diversifying water sources, leveraging both centralized and decentralized infrastructure, nurturing ecosystem services in built and natural environments, and fostering socio-political support for sustainable water-centric decision-making. Water-themed living labs are a tangible manifestation of this vision. These labs serve as dynamic testing grounds, focusing on realizing the objectives of water-sensitive design. They provide a real-world canvas for exploring and refining innovative ideas aimed at ensuring water security.

A student from the Future Water Institute at the University of Cape Town, South Africa is conducting a study that seeks to unravel the key characteristics of living labs honing in on water-sensitive innovations. The study launches with a brief survey, an initial phase in a comprehensive case study. Its findings will guide future engagements, shaping the narrative of water-sensitive innovations in these labs.

If you are actively involved in a water-themed living lab and over 18, we extend our warm invitation to participate in a survey.  The survey is anticipated to take approximately 3 minutes. Your anticipated participation is immensely valued – its key to unlocking innovative solutions for water security!

If you have any questions please email [email protected] and we will forward your request.