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Lecco Innovation Living Lab (LILL) has two main interconnected areas of interest: health innovation and systemic approach to innovation.
Health innovation is focused on rehabilitation and technologies for living environments, with ten years of experience in systemic projects for ecosystemic growth. The partnership has managerial, business, scientific, clinical and technical expertise on a wide range of topics. The projects are developed by a network consisting of Univerlecco, Politecnico di Milano Lecco Campus, four CNR (National Research Council of Italy) institutes, two IRCCS (Research Hospitals), a Rehabilitation Center, a users’ association (UILDM).
Users’ needs are carefully analysed and debated with the involvement of all stakeholders. Then, projects are developed by researchers and practitioners, supported by a number of well-equipped laboratories, in close collaboration with enterprises. At the same time, the partnership has clinical expertise and hosts clinical trials in its several specialized centers that work with all age groups (pediatric, adult, geriatric) for validation. Features of the process are the exchange and joint development of clinical protocols, tight collaboration between physicians and biomedical engineers, multicenter pre-clinical and clinical trials, neuroimaging and diagnostics, technical, clinical and scientific evaluation of new therapies.
LILL’s systemic approach to innovation is practically implemented through Univerlecco and its partners. The primary aim is to activate and interconnect the network as much as possible. As an example, a project has been developed through an iterative process of meetings and revision of all stakeholders, from a user association to technicians and clinitians to ensure the most effective result in answering a well defined need. Currently, the consortium has started applying for funding (e.g. Telethon Calls 2015) and is looking for further opportunities to support the implementation.
Another example of this approach can be seen in “Business to Research”, a project launched in March 2014 that has seen many of the Living Lab partners involved as promoters or participants to the local network. The goal is to find shared interests between research institutions and companies and give researchers clues about which areas the local industry is more interested in. The same approach will be applied at an inter-regional level, on becoming part of a European network.
The vision for the Lecco Innovation Living Lab is to become a single support and information interface for the whole system, which acts a distributed and externalized R&D laboratory. This will simplify and multiply relationships while dramatically decreasing costs and time to market, especially but not limited to rehabilitation and technologies for living environment. Even thought experience shows that the Lecco economic fabric virtually allows to build, test and bring to market anything that is found through research, in these fields validation, commercialization and acquisition are well-known bottlenecks.
This way of operating has already been validated several times on a local and National scale: a first time in 2013, when Univerlecco became coordinator for the Lombardy Regional Cluster “Technologies for the Living Environment” (http://www.clustertav.lombardia.it). The Cluster is an aggregation of research institutions, universities, associations, caregivers, cooperatives, SME and Large Corporates. Its aim is the “development of knowledge, technological solutions, plants, highly innovative buildings and products. According to Ambient Intelligence and Ambient Assisted Living paradigms, these afford a redesign of the (living) environment in order to foster and encourage inclusion, safety, wellness, health and sustainability”. The Lombardy Cluster is among the six founders of the National Cluster working on the same themes.
Again, in 2014: Regione Lombardia (http://www.en.regione.lombardia.it) signed a memorandum of understanding with INAIL (National Institute for Insurance Against Workplace Accidents) and identified Lecco as the district where the research on behalf of victims of traumatic accidents and technopathics should take place.
The following table and descriptions give an overview on the collaborative research projects the Living Lab partners have been working on as a network since 2004, with a focus on rehabilitation.
The main project that LILL has involved are:
- Hint@Lecco (rehabilitation project)
- Spider@Lecco (rehabilitation project - http://www.riabilitaonline.it/)
- Regional Cluster “Technologies for the Living Environment” (http://clustertav.lombardia.it/)
- Design4All (research and training projects - http://www.d4all.eu/)
- Think&Go. Transfer Health INnovation through Knowledge & Generate Organised technological approaches in rehabilitation
- Riprendo@Home. Recupero post Ictus Piattaforma per la RiabilitazionE Neuromotoria orientata al Domicilio (http://www.riprendoathome.it/it/)
- Ability. Telerehabilitation
The Living Lab resources are activated selectively. On the one side users or institutions come (or are asked to come, whenever funding is available) with a question, a problem, a theme (input). Upon evaluation carried out by the Living Lab personnel and its partners, the most appropriate resources will be identified and the connection is created on the industry and/or technical/scientific side.
Alongside, to support the operations, additional management resources are called in to help with problem solving, budgeting, patenting and any help they may require to reach their goal (output).
These output may be a systemic local or international research or R&D project, creating a product, service, etc.