Agro Living Lab project (ALL)
Topic of the practice
Agro Living Lab (ALL) is designed to boost the production chain from field to fork. It offers an active role and early involvement of users in the creative process of developing new products and technologies in agriculture and forestry industries
Good Practice Information
Objectives: To develop usability and user-driven design for technologies in agriculture and forestry. Companies can test and develop products and services with real users in a real living or working environment. It includes multi-disciplinary know-how and different sciences. Emphasis is on user-driven methods and active business-citizens-government partnership. Companies achieve efficiency and cost savings for product development and increase customer satisfaction. Final users (farmers and contractors) produce useful and usable products and services. Government acts as enabler in this concept.
Services that have been developed include research of user needs and use environments, user-driven innovation and usability evaluation. User needs from their living and working environment are used as a starting point for product development. Users participate in an innovation process of new products and services. Usability and usefulness of a product will be evaluated with real users and real environment, for example in the field conditions.
Stakeholders: Agro Living Lab project was designed by Frami Ltd (company relations, networks), University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute (research of rural areas and agricultural technology) and Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (know-how in agriculture and forestry) to combine multiply knowledge of agrotechnology and forestry. Later on Vaasa University (mobile technology, data processing) joined in the Agro Living Lab concept. The final beneficiaries are the agrotechnology and forestry industry companies with efficiency and cost savings in product development and increased customer satisfaction and the final users, farmers and contractors with useful and usable products and services. The project is financed by European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) through local authorities, municipalities in Seinäjoki and Härmä regions, project partners and companies.
The project was a four year project with a budget of 570.000 euros. The second phase of the development of Agro Living Lab has been focusing on agile and mobile methods in user-driven innovation during 2013-2014.
Evidence of success
Agro Living Lab project has successfully combined user-driven R&D and innovation tools for companies and universities in agriculture and forestry together with end-users and real-life situations. The project has accomplished over 50 cases, e.g. usability evaluation for a yield meter, using environment research for wireless measuring equipment and organize many brainstorming workshops for several issues. A voluntary network of real users has been established and is working efficiently with different project and workshops. Real user network covers 220 farmers in South Ostrobothia. ALL is also chosen one of the top projects of Ministry of Employment and Economy and Ministry supporting user-driven innovations.
Any region wishing to transfer this type of project would need to have a certain expertise in the field. Also the importance of common will and shared understanding about the concept has to be clear.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Annex completed on: 09-07-2011