LIVING LABS – INNOVATE BUSINESS MODELS FOR RURAL REGIONS
Rural regions are confronted with several challenges, such as depopulation, overageing or a declining economic importance of the primary sector. Thus, innovative efforts are required to make such regions more attractive and to maintain and further develop social and physical infrastructure. HORIZON 2020 project LIVERUR aims at strengthening rural regions by expanding innovative business models set up as Living Labs, which are user-centred and open-innovation ecosystems. Living Labs establish a sustainable stakeholder partnership, where users, policy-makers, companies and researchers engage in a long-term collaboration. Within LIVERUR, suitable rural business models are identified and will be developed towards the Living Lab concept. Therefore, a framework with a criteria system with the most relevant LIVERUR topics was developed, following a literature review on important documents of the United Nations and EU as well as scientific publications. This criteria system focuses on four main criteria: 1. Living Lab approach, 2. Economic sustainability, 3. Social sustainability and 4. Ecological sustainability. Each criterion is supplemented with 3 to 6 concrete indicators, which help to create a comprehensive view on sustainable business models linked to the Living Lab approach. The results show 20 business models within 13 pilot regions, which are largely on a high level of development, but most of them still have potential for further development. The presented framework is easy in its application and helps to assess and illustrate business models regarding Living Lab and sustainability characteristics. It is also helpful to highlight a business model´s potential for development.