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'Living lab' adopted for small firms to engage with consumers in product development

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 27, 2021, 10:31 Updated : December 27, 2021, 10:31

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea will establish an agora platform called "living lab" where consumers and small-and-medium-sized firms can engage in product development to make attractive, consumer-friendly items. The living lab system is commonly adopted by retail companies to reflect consumers' ideas on products to improve user experience and quality.

Conglomerates and retail groups have detailed product planning processes involving consumers and experts to make new items that have a high possibility to become popular by reflecting consumers' opinions. However, it is hard for small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups to adopt such processes due to the lack of manpower and money.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups said in a statement on December 27 that 35.2 billion won ($29.6 million) would be spent on a four-year development project in 2022 to create an ecosystem where SMEs and startups can invite consumers to engage in product development processes. People from public, private, and social groups will be connected in a communal research system, also known as "research communities," to collect and share ideas.
The living lab project will be carried out in four stages -- a planning stage in which consumers and companies set up ideas, a development stage that reviews the possibility of commercialization, a demonstration stage that checks the product's efficacy, and the distribution stage that establishes sales channels. 

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