The Region of Central Macedonia offers to start-ups and research entities the framework to test their innovations in actual conditions as an application lab, sharing their experiences and providing feedback.
This action is a powerful toolset for:
- Acceleration of the innovation process from its conception until accessing the market
- Recognising problems and improving products
- The presentation and promotion of innovative products
- Creating a favourable environment for accelerating the transformation of a concept into an applied action.
Innovation constitutes a powerful dynamic especially for SMEs that are the backbone of entrepreneurship in the Region and the country in general. For the very small, small and medium-sized enterprises, actions toward innovation are important but also demanding due to their limited resources and, above all, they are the most important tool for their business development in a highly competitive environment.
These businesses often focus on their day-to-day operations, being unable to recognise the opportunities for innovation, a strategic decision with positive long-term competitive benefits for them. One of the biggest obstacles to introducing and testing innovative products and services on the market is finding the first buyers for niche products, to help assess their business model, something particularly important for SMEs. For this reason, a “living lab” is an environment with a suitable approach to support these activities.
This approach is usually based on five main principles that direct the living lab functions: value, sustainability, influence, realism and receptivity.
Within the framework of this action, the Region of Central Macedonia already cooperates with the Greek Hellenic Design Centre, aiming at the planning of services that will be offered by the ONE STOP LIAISSON OFFICE support mechanism for innovation and entrepreneurship, while in collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Open Care Centre for the elderly of the Municipality of Thessaloniki they jointly developed, via the Living Lab methodology, a digital information and communication service for health services to older citizens in the framework of the European project MOBILE-AGE.