The ACSELL project Accelerating SME innovative capacities with the Living Lab approach
Multi-sector perspectives on demand-driven innovation in the context of Scotland’s health and care system
Improving the ways in which we work together toco-create, test and develop new digital solutions, which become digitally enabled services, is a team sport. This is the ethos of the ACSELL project and the Living Lab approach. Scotland is one of the 7 European regions participating in the Interreg Europe funded ACSELL project  The objective of the project is to sensitise the public sector, innovation intermediaries and SMEs towards expanding SME competences by promoting open innovation ecosystems and integrating the user early in their innovation process with a (interregional) living lab approach. The partners involved are:
- University of Tübingen, Germany – Coordinating Partner
- Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Belgium LiCalab – Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Belgium
- North Denmark Region – Idéklinikken, Denmark
- Central European Initiative – Executive Secretariat CEI-ES Italy
- Timiş County Council, Romania
- Technology Park Ljubljana Ltd. Slovenia
- Scottish Government
In Scotland, our ACSELL activities are focused on the digital health and care innovation ecosystem. Each participating region has established a Regional Stakeholder Group which meets to share their experiences of open innovation, to identify strengths and weaknesses of the health and care system (for demand-driven innovation) and to identify priority areas for improvement.
Reflecting this essential diversity of perspectives, the Scottish Regional Stakeholder Group includes representation from the Scottish Government, The Data Lab, the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, the Health and Social Care Alliance, Edinburgh Living Labs, EIT Digital, Scottish Development International, Storm ID, Mydex and NHS National Services Scotland.
One of the unique aspects of the ACSELL project is the activity to map the current situation with demand-driven innovation in the participating regions, using a newly developed adaption of the online self-assessment SCIROCCO Exchange Tool. 
During the first part of 2020, the Scottish Regional Stakeholder Group has been working through the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the current state of demand driven innovation in the context of Scotland’s health and care system (Figure 1). It has been a fascinating and insightful process so far. Different perspectives were expected between organisations and sectors but, interestingly, different perspectives have also been highlighted within organisations and teams regarding the maturity assessment dimensions in the SCIROCCO Exchange Tool.
Participants have also noted that an additional benefit of completing the assessment tool has been having the opportunity to think about their scoring and the justifications for score they have selected. In addition to completing this activity within their own teams, stakeholders have had the opportunity to share their results with each other during online workshops, leading to greater understanding, shared consensus and positive connections being made across the organisations involved. The next steps for the ACSELL project will be to organise twinning and knowledge exchange activities in the areas where we believe Scotland has good practice to share, and also in areas where Scotland could benefit from learning from partner regions’ good practices in relation to open demand-driven innovation.