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Småland Living Lab

Småland Living Lab



1. Living Lab description

Småland Living Lab evolved from the aspiration to systemically and holistically gather all existing knowledge of sustainable living embedded firmly in the regional fabric, its long tradition of resource-efficient living. This concept of resource efficiency, originally stemming from the historically restrained economic resources in the region, would be coupled with today’s entrepreneurship-mind set, ICT-enabled innovations and novel notions of creativity.

Småland Living Lab seeks to mobilise, synergise all knowledge of sustainable living in the region, including sustainable forest management and agriculture, self-sufficiency, resources sharing, design and crafts. As social and economical challenges are strongly intertwined with the climate challenges we are facing today, together with more recent polarised dialogue on segregation and immigration, norms that either close individuals out or bring them in, Småland Living Lab wants to establish and support synergies between cultural, economical, ecological and finally social dimensions of sustainability. Småland Living Lab has been put in place in order to explore, educate and inspire and to act as a change maker in the region. Its ‘raison-d’ être’ is to creatively support the region’s transition towards a circular economy. This will in turn boost the region’s competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs as well as contributing to increased capacity for innovation and internationalization in the region. The regional Living Lab, as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with citizens, brings together and facilitates a vibrant dialogue between the Småland region innovation actors and research, large and small businesses and public sector and citizens. The main aspiration is, through strong end-user involvement, to develop and deploy novel ideas and concrete innovations, products and services to promote sustainability. Key partners to date are: Municipality of Växjö, Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden Ltd, Nybrukarna local successful Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), and Recycling Community Macken. A core benefit of this living lab is the approaches to co-creation – metadesign – specifically developed to mobilise knowledge and engagement and support innovation in transdiscipliary collaborations working with high complexity and uncertainty.  

2. Project(s)

Småland Living Lab is in an intensive build up phase, using metadesign workshops to mobilise a range of stakeholders. Examples to date includes the conceptualisation of a new transdisciplinary research initiative, Closing the Loop in Småland – Circular Economy in Action, an explorative research and education event with students at all levels as well as researchers from nine disciplines on the topic of Potatoes + Change – what is the potential of a humble and local resource for change. In October Småland Living Lab will gather representatives from all sectors in the region for a larger workshop.

3. Living Lab methods and tools:

The overarching methodological framework of Småland Living Lab is metadesign. Metadesign refers to transdisciplinary, co-creative, emergent design that integrates innovations at levels of products, systems, and paradigms, and generates processes of change. Metadesign is well suited to Småland Living Lab as the approaches have been developed to:

  • Address challenges that are too complex to be understood or resolved by single stakeholders.
  • Deliver many-layered (product/process, system, paradigm) integrated innovations.
  • Create conditions for synergistic transdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Facilitate processes that are simultaneously informative, transformative and generate innovations.

The metadesign approaches were developed by the metadesign research tearm at Goldsmiths, University of London (see which includes Mathilda Tham, one of Småland Living Lab’s founders. The approaches have since been evolved in numerous transdisciplinary settings internationally, and are now developed to support the work of the living lab. 

4. Your living lab or project in a box

 Småland Living Lab uses design and co-creation to mobilise all stakeholders of the region in adaptation to the circular economy and futures of sustainability.

Matilda Tham [javascript protected email address]
Småland Living Lab

Historically Labelled Living Labs


Since its formation in 2006 ENoLL has labelled 440+ Living Labs. See the full list of Labelled Living Labs who are not active members of the network.



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