A Smarter World: An Examination of International Living Lab Partnerships

Frederik Zeuthen Gørtz

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis is based on a case study of Smart City World Labs (SCWL), a living lab partnership and innovation brokerage project involving actors from the Nordics and Singapore. At its heart, it is an analysis of how complex internal and external factors have shaped and changed the project over the course of its lifetime, from its conception in the latter half of 2015 to the present (September 2018). Focusing in on this single case study, the thesis relies heavily on interviews with the various partners in the project and a range of project documents – including project applications and evaluations, securing deep insight into the inner workings of the project throughout its lifetime. By understanding this innovative approach to export promotion, the thesis seeks to learn the ground rules and basic reasonings surrounding the project’s adaptations in the hopes that these lessons can be learned for the future.
Structuring the analysis around three key perspectives – purpose, organization and process, the thesis seeks to understand the underlying reasons for several major shifts in the project as it developed from one phase to the next. Over the course of the thesis process it became increasingly clear that there were major challenges to the project in both Denmark and Singapore and that the project faced an extremely steep learning curve. However, by using the first phase as a testing ground for their model and learning from the barriers and challenges set before the project, SCWL has been able to develop what they hope to be a replicable model for innovation brokerage through living labs. While there are still some questions as to how successfully that model might adapt to a new geographic and cultural context, the project has been able to secure tangible results in Singapore.
There are a lot of factors that go into the shaping of a successful international innovation brokerage project and there are a variety of ways in which adversity and a learning-oriented approach can help to reveal those factors. This is at the core of the thesis. Understanding the intricacy of a large transorganizational partnership such as SCWL, with its many important stakeholders, and the immense challenges of bringing together people from across sectors, industries and nationalities in the pursuit of spreading smart and sustainable technologies will prove key to resolving the challenges of the future and will require study and investment in order to determine the most efficient and impactful path forward. This is ultimately the objective of the thesis before you.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Business and Development Studies, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages78
SupervisorsPeter Lund-Thomsen