Editorial of April Newsletter by ENoLL Vice-President

Editorial by ENoLL Vice-President Artur Serra for April 2017 Newsletter: "The Lab is our future" 

“The year is 2030. Open Science has become a reality and is offering a whole range of new, unlimited opportunities for research and discovery worldwide. Scientists, citizens, publishers, research institutions, public and private research funders, students and education professionals as well as companies from around the globe are sharing an open, virtual environment called The Lab”. ll

This is the vision of the 2016’s report Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World proposed by Carlos Moedas from the European Commission.

The European Union needs a deep redesign to be able to engage its citizens in solving the problems it is facing. The Union started 60 years ago as a common market. The market is still our main metaphor. The increasing deception in this vision is open the door to the partisans of raising the old walls of the national States.

The reality is that we are living more and more in the digital era, in the knowledge era. We need visions according to this new reality. The European Union is more than a market or a union of states. It is already an open experiment, a laboratory for the nations involved and beyond. This is the European “smart specialization”: a complex, diverse, competitive and collaborative lab for all.

For more than 10 years ENoLL has been the pioneer institution putting focus on this phenomenon promoting the open living labs movement. We are supporting “Empowering everyone to innovate”. Living labs are trying to put citizens in the center of the innovation process. Nobody should be excluded from this opportunity. If we invented after WW2 in Europe universal systems like health or education, why we cannot invent now in the knowledge era the first universal innovation system?

Since 2006 the movement of “labs” has grown enormously generating a great variety of forms and domains like Fablabs, edulabs, policy labs, xlabs, and of course more open living labs. “Digital social innovation” is already an expanding European community.

Can we imagine a new European open and inclusive innovation system where these citizen-driven innovation structures will work together with the traditional labs from universities, companies and public administrations transforming the whole European economy and society? This can be the future of Europe.