Launch of the Living Lab toolkit: Insights from the Sport and Social Cohesion Lab project
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Living Lab toolkit
How can organisations effectively involve participants and partners in programme design? A new toolkit provides guidelines on one type of approach.

Policymakers, researchers and NGOs often emphasise the importance of inclusive, participatory programming. Project participants, local communities and other stakeholders should be involved in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities. However, the extent to which this happens is often unclear, and organisations often lack the resources and knowledge to fully understand how to do it in a meaningful and effective way.

One method is by using a Living Lab approach, which is becoming increasingly popular in social science research but is still quite new in sport for development. As Malmberg and Vaittinen explained in 2017: "A Living Lab is a place where citizens, artists, technologists, businesses and public sector organisations can come together to co-create ideas, tools and technologies that will address local challenges. It's a place for innovation and exploring new possibilities but where reflection and evaluation are built into the working process to make sure the Living Lab can be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of stakeholders and communities."

The Sport for Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL) project was conceived to implement a Living Lab approach within five sport for social cohesion programmes in four different European countries. This approach was chosen to help programmes directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that promote social cohesion in a sport setting and to co-create activities and tools to explore, support and understand social cohesion within these communities.

The partners of the project have now published the final toolkit of the project. This reflects the partners’ experiences designing and implementing Living Labs in different European cities. The toolkit provides valuable insights to other organisations wishing to understand Living Labs as an example of a participatory approach to programme design or implement Living Labs themselves. It defines the concept, suggests some steps to launch a Living Lab, and offers insights on how to implement the different components of a Living Lab.

Sport and Social Cohesion Lab project partners:

  • Bochum, Germany: The German Sport University (who are the coordinator of the project) and In Safe Hands
  • Dublin, Ireland: Munster Technological University and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI)
  • 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands: International Sports Alliance (ISA)
  • The Hague, the Netherlands: The Hague University of Applied Sciences
  • Olomouc, Czech Republic: INEX-SDA / fotbal pro Rozvoj and Palacky University Olomouc
  • Vienna, Austria: The European Network of Sport Education
  • Copenhagen, Denmark: The International Platform on Sport and Development (sportanddev)


University Lecturer
University of Applied Sciences Kufstein


All the sports
Sustainable Development Goals
11 - Sustainable cities and communities
Target Group

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