Caring for Technology. Evolving Living Lab Collaboration

Louna Hakkarainen (2017)

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The nature of technologies and their contexts of use have become increasingly complex, especially in health and elderly care. In order to exploit the potential of technologies in improving care, we need better technological systems and better ways to integrate them into the work practices and existing technological environment on the care units. This dissertation seeks to understand the potential of Living Lab platforms in tackling these challenges.

By combining document and interview data this article-based dissertation reconstructs the biography of a smart floor innovation. Smart floor is a floor monitoring system and a nursing tool for elderly care. It seeks to prevent accidents and help saving resources by decreasing the need for routine checks in nursing homes. Smart floor was developed in close collaboration with care professionals in a four-year Living Lab project that took place in a public nursing home in Finland.

The work demonstrates that a Living Lab is not a panacea for information transfer and collaborative learning, and realizing its potential requires a significant amount of work and resources from all parties involved. Skilful and active intermediaries play a crucial role in mediating multi-stakeholder learning. The research draws from science and technology studies, design research, and research on innovation management.

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