Digital Birmingham is a Birmingham City Council initiative and part of a city wide strategic partnership of more than 40 public, private and voluntary organisations
Birmingham's Living Lab - Communities Building Capacity
In November 2008, Birmingham City Council was formally invited to become a member of the European network of Living Labs (ENoLL), which was established to change how new products and services are conceived and developed and to increase the global competitiveness of European businesses.
Membership of ENoLL allows Birmingham, together with other cities, to start a UK network of Living Labs and reinforce our commitment to enhancing the lives of our communities and citizens via digital technology. Birmingham's Living Lab has joined forces with others across Europe to be a precursor of a future economy in which involving end users and communities in innovation and development will be the norm - for new products, services and social structures.
We have been involved in various Living Lab projects:
Communities Building Capacity (CBC) and was led by Digital Birmingham. It focuses on increasing communities' capacity for self-help and innovation through the use and development of digital technologies. The Living Lab works closely with Voluntary and Community Organisation (VCOs) and local residents using digital technologies to develop and improve local services and access to information. In doing so it aims to engage local communities in finding innovative, technology driven solutions that will increase and promote social inclusion and stimulate further partnership working. Birmingham City Council is currently involved in a number of projects using the Living Lab methodology as well as looking at opportunities to grow the Living Lab offer.
Please see project activity below:
- Communities Building Capacity (CBC) is a national project which started in 2007 under the DC10plus banner (DC10plus are the 10 finalists of the UK Digital Challenge competition).The project is developing models of partnership work with voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) using digital technology for social inclusion. BCC is currently working with 20 residents and 2 VCOs in the deprived Aston area of Birmingham developing citizens' digital media skills.
- Aston Pride 'Computers in the Home' initiative, this partnership project has provided to date over 700 homes in a deprived area of Birmingham with a computer, wireless connectivity and support which is to be extended to 2500 homes by 2011. Research into the impact has shown that on average each computer was used by over 6 extended family members.
- Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) is a European FP7 project with 15 partners led by Manchester City Council which started in June 2008. The project is providing a testbed for an intelligent metering system for home energy efficiency - a project which will involve residents in Edgbaston area of Birmingham from the outset in defining system requirements and providing ideas for further.
- UK network of Living Labs - through the DC10plus group the Birmingham Living Lab is part of a network of Living Labs that exchanges experiences and project ideas nationally.
What is a Living Lab Note: can you hyperlink this heading to: http://www.openlivinglabs.eu/concept.html
The concept of Living Labs is to involve local communities in product and service innovation, changing the process from something controlled by the manufacturer to one where the end user plays a larger role and becomes a key contributor to the whole course of innovation and development.
Living Labs aim to radically improve the process of product innovation and so increase European competitiveness on the global stage, as well as helping communities take greater control of their environment. There are over 130 Living Labs http://www.openlivinglabs.eu/network.html throughout Europe and it is hoped that, by 2010, they will be using digital technologies to connect citizens with a wide range of developers and policy makers.
For further information about Birmingham's Living Lab email: firstname.lastname@example.org