Networking “open-innovation-networks”, Schumacher et al (2008) assess that:

Networking approach in living labs conceptRelated to “open-innovation-networks”, Schumacher et al (2008) assess that: “a networked approach to the concept living labs offers a number of significant benefits” (p. 6). This article explains advantages and disadvantages of using networking approach in living labs concept. Before moving to that,  I would like to define what is a networked innovation: Innovation that occurs through relationships that are negotiated in an ongoing communicative process, and which relies on neither market nor hierarchical mechanisms of control.  (SLIDES)According to Schumacher et al (2008), choosing living labs concept over the traditional methodologies is already an advantage itself. They claim that living labs have multi-contextual sphere in which the services of innovation are offered. By adopting a networking approach, this sphere can be extended even more. Besides that, if networking in living labs is based on broader co-creation and market analysis activities, the individual participants could guarantee that the customers are going to get more differentiated product or service (Schumacher et al, 2008). As described above, a networked approach to living labs offers some valuable benefits. However, a number of practical challenges need to be taken into consideration to reach a truly operative network in a living lab. The authors identify three main challenges of living labs concept: infrastructure, methods & tools, and policy. The heterogeneous infrastructure found in living labs raise an issue to the cooperation between the different departments (Schumacher et al, 2008) . That means, even though the overall goal of all departments remains the same, their functioning differ which can create some issues, therefore standardisation should play a big role in order to provide a successful product or service.Furthermore, the authors argue that some of the methodologies and tools exist and are used in the concept of living labs, however: “which methodology, method or tools is best used in which environment, under which circumstances is, however, has not been fully and systematically analysed” (p. 7). Chosen methodologies or tools are usually based on each living lab, its characteristics and environment. In order for the network to proceed successfully, the real challenge is not to choose from what kind of methods are currently available, but rather analyse the information inside the living lab, then inform all participants involved, and based on that choose the right methods and tools. This could relate to the four types of living labs and the importance of identifying the right type and characteristics of living lab, to be able to place the participants in the suitable positions.In order to be able to make a network of living lab a reality, the political will needs to be examined as well. Political goals and visions need to be clearly understood. The main idea is not to harmonise the political goals but rather integrate them into living labs processes (Schumacher et al, 2008).