Living lab in health & elderly care : ageing in place, accessible and adjusted housing & neighbourhoods, H&C Tech, prevention in H&C, collaboration in care
ZorgLab Aalst is an environment to test and experiment innovative solutions in health and care. The living lab supports and facilitates patient centered solutions in real life settings, providing a test panel of patients, elderly and care professionals and demonstration possibilities.
ZorgLab Aalst addresses following problems
- An ageing population and increase of chronic conditions, which need new solutions in health, care & wellbeing that fit the needs of end users (healthy citizens, patients, elderly, care professionals…)
- The current reform in organising and financing care stimulates organisations to look for new solutions
- SME’s have difficulties to access end users and/or care organisations
- Many innovations for healthcare fail as there is no appropriate product-market fit
ZorgLab Aalst works together with the Flemish government and with other living labs (Happy Ageing & Licalab) and is embedded in a broad strategy of the city to innovate in healthcare to support
- excellence in health care -> collaboration with health care organisations
- entrepreneurship in healthcare -> Innovation Hub in health care
- an accessible and healthy city -> public spaces and services
The main stakeholders & beneficiaries are SMEs and start-ups, care organisations in need of innovative approaches to give answer to today’s challenges, end users (healthy citizens, patients, seniors, care organisations, cities & regions, knowledge institutes.

Resources needed

3,6 FTE – a team of living lab coordinator, health care economist, panelmanager, business advisor, scientific support

Evidence of success

Embedded in a broad city strategy to innovate in healthcare. Therefore it can facilitate collaboration with health care organisations and it has helped to create an accessible and healthy city in public spaces and services also leading to international projects
56 developed products and services in health, care and wellbeing
Since start collaboration with 26 businesses and 19 care organisations
1 demonstration house with innovation supporting ageing in place
+ 700 panel members

Difficulties encountered

Working on, time and engagement of end users: what’s in it for them?
Costs to provide support in end-user interaction, also beyond testing new products
Complex environment and rules: need for exceptional measures to experiment new solutions
From research & development to implementation & take-up

Potential for learning or transfer

Financial & organisational:
• Support of the government for research & development is needed: national, regional and/or local
• Living lab as part of broader a organisation: part of the local government, research institution, network organisation => fall back on broader infrastructure and overhead
Demand driven vs technology driven :
• End user involvement strengthens chance of successful uptake: from defining the concept through user testing
• Innovation support for care organisations: supportive measure to stimulate demand driven innovation
• Working with specific calls (for funding and support) towards entrepreneurs in healthcare (local, regional, EU)
• Development of Digital solutions: everything is possible <-> but the target group is not always able to use these solutions, because of a lack of digital literacy: a system supporting them in using these solutions is essential
• Cost-effectiveness of solutions

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Zorglab Aalst
Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium (Belgique-België)
Start Date
January 2014
End Date


Please login to contact the author.