Participatory Design as a driver of user-centred innovation

Was already in 2009 that the European Commission launched the working document "Design as a driver of user-centred innovation" analysing and highligting the contribution of design to innovation and competitiveness. According to the EC at that time the Design is a driver and enabler of innovation complements more traditional innovation activities such as research.

This view has not changed much, only becomes ever more notorious, with the applied implementation of this concept also in the HealthCare and Governance. Design as a tool for innovation has developed rapidly in recent years, resulting notably in concepts such as strategic design, design management and design thinking. However it is important to increase strongly society and political attention to the Potential of Innovation Design.

"Design is increasingly considered a strategic tool for user-centred innovation.

As such, it is a holistic and multidisciplinary problem-solving approach that takes user needs,

aspirations and abilities as its starting point and focus. The potential of design

to make products, services and systems correspond better to environmental

and social needs has also receivedincreasing attention in recent years."


The fruitfulness of the concept


This practice is in line with the Living Lab’s concept and activities - an open innovation milieu where new constellations, issues and ideas evolve from bottom-up long-term collaborations amongst diverse stakeholders.

"Participatory design has become increasingly engaged in public spheres

and everyday life “democratic innovation". That means that innovation has been democratized

through easy access to production tools and lead-users as the new experts driving innovation."


Living Labs as currently seen as conductors for User driven innovation. Living Labs are planned as open innovation social and technical platforms and venues that may be integrated with the overall innovation system in a city or a region. As such, they invite collaboration between people, companies, public agencies, cultural organizations and NGOs, in new business models opening the borders between users driving innovation, business incubators, research and education. 


NOTE: The Methodological Guide of the VITLAB Open Innovation Strategy will be available soon in VITLAB Observatory (under the Knowledge Area).

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <p>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.