Exploring Collaborative Innovation Approaches: Early Deliberations from the Living Laboratories Initiative

Margaret Bancerz


In 2018, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada developed the Living Laboratories Initiative, a network of agroecosystem living labs, to encourage the adoption and scaling up and out of innovation in both technology and practice in climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture. This paper explores living labs as a new collaborative innovation approach that can build trust and develop long-term relationships between different actors in the agri-food system. It answers the question: what can collaborative innovation approaches, like agroecosystem living labs, reveal about the needs of actors within the collaborative governance process? Using a combination of semi-structured interviews and participant observation, this study gathered early-stage insights from various agroecosystem living lab partners in two Canadian agroecosystem living lab sites. It argues that starting conditions of partners were particularly influential in developing living labs. To mitigate current and potential obstacles, metagovernance can be a way to maintain commitment from partners.


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