Transilvania Living Lab
Transilvania IT Cluster provides its partners, Transilvania Living Lab, as a testing and co-innovation structure. Through Transilvania Living Lab, technology partners, public administration and academic and research institutions will have access to skills, methods, methodologies, know-how, tools and communities for co-creation, prototyping and testing. Transilvania Living Lab’s mission is to generate co-creation and involvement in innovation processes and to validate academic research projects.
Transilvania Living Lab strives to put communities and their needs at the heart of innovation developing and experimenting with projects and services that involve smart approaches. The main key is to explore a project or an idea from as many angles and perspectives as possible and in order to do this, we involve in the designing phase the private and public sector, academia, users and other interested parties that will have a direct interaction with it.
Taking into account that Cluj-Napoca is one of the most academic centre and dispose of the most valuable human resources, the Living Lab can develop opportunities for students and young people in applied research which will have as a final outcome the capability of them to face new challenges and to help in the resolving the future issues.
Core societal values co-created and fostered by Transilvania LL processes are anything but innovative and include safety, trust, and belonging. It is in the emancipator and co-creative character of the processes that these values are put into circulation, giving birth to ephemeral or sustainable creative communities. During co-creation, the temporary redesign of interpersonal or inter-community relations is redesigning social production itself, creating the possibility of social fusion and moving societal value production to the next level (just as in nuclear fusion a higher level of energy is released).
In terms of social innovation, in multi-stakeholder co-creative setups fraught with structural violence (e.g a workshop putting together middle-class citizens with members of marginalized communities) one of the core benefits is sheer social visibility (the invisible become visible) and can develop into a significant societal impact.
The goal of Transilvania Living Lab is to empower the users of its services (citizens of the region, private companies, clusters, universities, research institutes, public administration) and integrate them into the innovation process, motivating them to participate, putting the right tools in place to enable a bottom-up dialogue, and translating ideas into sustainable commercial products or services. The host organization of Transilvania Living Lab works with a huge range of stakeholders, within a public-private-people partnership, trying to provide solutions and cooperation in areas such as ITC, eHealth, eGovernment, education, space, climate change, Earth Observation, social innovation, smart cities and regions, etc. Regarding the strategic direction, the living lab will focus on the co-creation of innovation through a need-driven approach. In addition, we will undertake several initiatives to support the local business ecosystem to speed up the innovation process from the idea to product or service launch. Our objective is to activate in the regional area, also to highlight, and to develop its existing innovative potential in order to fulfill the needs of its growing environment.
We are deeply involved in the development and implementation of Cluj-Napoca’s Smart City Strategy, in which we explored the needs of the community and involved citizens in the decision-making process and let them have their say about the things that must be improved and developed in a sustainable and innovative way to increase the quality of life, products and services offered by the Municipality and not only. The added value brought by the team working on this strategy, formed out of NGOs, Universities, public and private entities and citizens, is the fact that the following fields were agreed upon for improvement, using innovation and digitalization as main tools: eGovernance, Open Mobility, eHealth, Sharing Economy, eEducation, interaction with other cities, citizens’ safety, renewable energy, consumer education to reuse, hazard report, risk management, a.o.
As a field of activity, smart city represents a special focus for us, being directly involved in the concept, design and implementation of the Smart City Strategy of Cluj-Napoca, the most technological city of Romania. We thrive in developing a Smart City Strategy where we collaborate intensively with the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca and other relevant stakeholders in order to identify collaborative projects and create partnerships with public and private players.
Within the aforementioned phase, we have experimented with some of the apps to be sure that they are as required and designed by the citizens and by their needs and we have received very positive feedback which enabled us to continue on this track. We strongly believe that we can insure the opening of new and great opportunities for community development.