"I stood by and watched": An autoethnography of stakeholder participation in a living lab

Samuel Schrevel, Meralda Slager, Erwin De Vlugt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


An emerging and innovative way of organizing projects in health technology and innovation is the so-called "living lab". Because of their characteristics, living labs may provide a solution to a very old problem: How to facilitate the meaningful participation of stakeholders in science and technology? In this article, I (we use a first-person perspective in the paper) aim to contribute to the literature by providing an account of my experiences as a participation researcher with stakeholder participation in a living lab in the Netherlands. I participated in a yearlong project on ensuring freedom for residents in a closed psychogeriatric ward. Using three key moments from that experience, I illustrate why participation was the intention, but was harder to achieve in practice. Participation processes and living labs are situated in specific social and physical contexts. I discuss the "situatedness" of living labs and propose to reconceptualize them as "situated practices": The value of a living lab lies in the processes of work it conducts on specific innovations situated in its local context. A key conclusion is that providing narrative descriptions of living lab projects, with attention to situatedness and stakeholder participation, can provide invaluable examples, insights, and inspirations for other researchers in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
JournalTechnology Innovation Management Review
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Dementia
  • Health technology
  • Living labs
  • Nursing home
  • Psychogeriatric care
  • Situated practice
  • Stakeholder participation


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