Open Labs - École d'été HEC-Mosaic
Photo: Jean-François Cournoyer-Quintal

Living Lab: move forward, faster, together!

An international reference in the field of creativity and innovation management, the Montreal-Barcelona Summer School organized by Mosaic-HEC Montréal offers its participants a unique and inspiring experience through a new way of learning together. For 2 weeks, Summer School participants  will learn the best practices in innovation.

It was in this context, that an exceptional day was held  at Centech last Thursday, entitled: ‘Open labs and innovation: the dynamics of communities and ecosystems’, during which different models were presented.

The day concluded with the North American launch of the book of the same name: Open Labs and Innovation Management: The Dynamics of Communities and Ecosystems with co-directors, Valérie Mérindol and David W. Versailles, and moderated by Luc Sirois, Chief Innovation Officer, with presentations from 3 open labs:

  • Communitech in Kitchener, Ontario, and the dynamics of the innovation commons presented by Luc Sirois (Conseil de l’innovation du Québec);
  • Néomed, the Strasbourg’s Health Innovation District with Patrick Llerena (University of Strasbourg);
  • And the TransMedTech Institute of Montréal by Marie-Pierre Faure, our Assistant Director – Living Lab, partnerships and special projects.

What is an Open Lab?

Also knowed as Fab Lab, Living Lab, Open space, Co-working, third place, makerspace or techshop, an Open Lab is therefore a physical space built around a community that offers a portfolio of services.

Valérie Mérindol and David W. Versailles, Paris Business School

There can be no Open Lab, without a community, a community of varied actors, experts from different fields with a collaborative approach  who share the same values and mindset.

For Luc Sirois, there is also a ‘notion of posture, a state of being, a culture’.

‘An Open Lab refers to a collaborative research environment that promotes transparency, inclusion and accessibility’, says Manel González Piñero of Xartec Salut, the healthtech innovation network in Catalonia, Spain.

David W. Versailles and Valérie Merindol describe them as ‘Band Leaders’ (Chefs de fanfare)!

Why work with Open Labs?

  • Bringing together the right people at the right time to build and get things done.
  • Developing innovation commons and go faster.

These are agile structures that work with a diversity of stakeholders and expertise. ‘A network of people who know people’ as Louis-Félix Binette, Executive Director and a founding member of MAIN says.

It is important to stimulate the community, encourage interaction, and have a collaborative spirit to strengthen creativity and do things differently.

Members of this community have a defined state of mind around a common cause or mission.

Open Labs are there to promote scientific progress and innovation, breaking down traditional barriers and creating a more inclusive and cooperative community of scientific knowledge and practice.

They often  bridge the gap between research and industry to avoid the so-called Death Valley that we often face between generating the innovation and implementing the innovation; they make it possible to overcome the obstacles that be encountered from an idea to its implementation in a real environment

What is a Living Lab?

‘Living Lab’ is a term that was first used at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1985.

ENoLL (European Network of Living Labs) has identified 5 key elements that should be present in a living laboratory:

  1. Active user participation
  2. The real-life setting
  3. Multi-stakeholder participation
  4. A multi-method approach
  5. Co-creation

The Living Lab approach enables multi- and inter-disciplinary teams oriented towards the end-user and open innovation to:

  1. Co-create
  2. Explore
  3. Experiment
  4. Evaluate innovations

Here is an example : ”At LaboINSPIRE, based at the Technopôle en réadaptation pédiatrique, Centre de réadaptation Marie Enfant of the CHU Sainte-Justine, we use a “living lab” approach: a collaborative environment that integrates research into real clinical practices. There is an emphasis on a patient-centred approach, actively involving patients and their families in the research process. The living lab operates in real-world care environments, allowing observation and data collection that is faithful to the daily experience of patients. It promotes the co-creation and co-design of research projects with different stakeholders. The research process is iterative, allowing for evaluation and continuous improvement of interventions. Data is collected and analyzed to assess the effectiveness of interventions and optimize care practices, while respecting ethical considerations related to the protection of participants.” Danielle Levac, PhD, Director of LaboINSPIRE

On our side, at the TransMedTech Institute, we bring researchers, clinicians, students, entrepreneurs, patient partners, and industry representatives to the table early in the process. The goal is to co-create and prototype products from ideas, and to test and validate them in a real-life environment. This is why we are a Living Lab.

For more information: Open Labs and Innovation Management: The Dynamics of Communities and E (

Find tout more about the case of the TransMedTech Institute in Chapter 9: Living Labs and innovation commons in the health ecosystems: the case of the TransMedTech Institute in Montreal co-authored by Nathalie Tremblay, Patrick Cohendet, Geneviève Cyr, Margaux Manent, Laurent Simon, Marie-Pierre Faure and Carl-Éric Aubin.

Video recording of the event: Lancement nord-américain du livre Open Labs and Innovation Management – YouTube

Source : Géraldine Dumesnil Communication Services, Institut TransMedTech