Living Lab UB: innovative solutions to solve complex social challenges

The University of Barcelona has launched its social innovation laboratory: Living Lab UB, which has been presented in a telematic event on Tuesday, November 3. The objective of such initiative is to give a response to the challenges that come from the public and private environments, related to the people’s behaviour, through innovative solutions and the participation of social partners from companies and institutions, clients and users, university experts and policy makers.

One of the first actions of Living Lab UB is a session on the good governance and regulation, led by Juli Ponce, professor of Administrative Law. The session, which was held this October, was dedicated to the regulation to protect whistleblowers, coinciding with the transposition in Spain of the European Union directive on this topic. Both public and private partners gave their opinion on the law that regulates the obligation of having anonymous channels to report frauds in companies and institutions, and protection measures for whistleblowers. The conclusions of this session will give way to the 2nd Yearbook on good governance and regulation, to be published in 2021.

The Living Lab UB is presented as an instrument of people and multidisciplinary resources that are activated depending on a specific challenge and take several shapes. This is a liquid model for a liquid society. About 6,000 researchers of the UB, experts on different knowledge fields are in this initiative, and the prestige and reputation of the academic institution and the experience on innovation project management of Bosch i Gimpera Foundation make the University of Barcelona a perfect place to conduct this project.

Using a methodology that focuses on the user, the Living Lab will be the place to develop participative dynamics in order to give a response to challenges presented by companies and institutions. “The social innovation laboratory allows us to work on contemporary social challenges alienating the best researchers from different disciplines and the involved social partners. With the different knowledge fields and several perspectives that affect a social problem, we get a creative and informed context to generate new solutions for complex problems”, notes Francesc Benlliure, member of the team in Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and promoter of this initiative.

In public and private environment projects, the Living Lab UB methodology enables us to define innovative solutions focused on the user or client, validate new developing products and services, raising awareness, teaching and empowering potential clients, and promote a change in habits for this collective. This is why Living Lab UB is constituted as a key tool to treat knowledge transfer, especially in humanities and social science disciplines related to people’s behaviour.

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