SiSe Living Lab and Quartier Numérique: Historical background
Quartier Numérique Living Lab was created in 2006 by Silicon Sentier, a Paris-based non-profit organisation gathering more than 150 enterprises (start-ups, SMEs) working in ICT innovation in the Ile de France Region. In 2007, Quartier Numérique became the first ENOLL Living Lab in the Paris Region. The goal of Quartier Numérique was to serve as a testbed for mobile internet services in a Paris area covered by Wi-Fi infrastructure. Between 2007 and 2009 44 projects were tested at Quartier Numérique.
Since the creation of Quartier Numérique, the usage and the market of mobile internet services have undergone radical change. Since Mobile internet is becoming ubiquitous, a Wi-Fi infrastructure and a specific testing district are no more essential for testing mobile services with citizens. Moreover, through our day by day collaboration with start-ups and SMEs we found out that they needed a physical place where to meet together with their user communities, an ecosystem in which start-up projects could quickly grow into more mature projects, and a toolset of methods and tools for involving users from the conception to the testing of technologies and services.
In the last two years we have been working hard to answer these needs, building new facilities and developing an open, collaborative and fertile ecosystem for supporting ICT innovation. During this process, Quartier Numérique evolved in what we call today Silicon Sentier Living Lab (SiSe Living Lab).
SiSe Living Lab is composed by four main entities answering corresponding to our members needs.
Support communities' cross-fertilisation: La Cantine
La Cantine is a 240m2 space situated in a "Passage" in the heart of Paris. La Cantine is an open and transparent place: from the street everyone can see what is happening inside and enter. La Cantine is first of all a Co-working Space where people from different domains gather to work in a shared space and exchange ideas about their projects. In order to support the cross-fertilisation between different thematic communities (open-source, social innovation, robotics, UX, mobile developers ...) and users. La Cantine organises a series of open and participative events and initiatives in which different communities meet. Over the last two years La Cantine succeeded in becoming the Reference space for all the events in the digital innovation domain. Since 2008, La Cantine hosted 1500 events.
La Cantine organises both local initiatives (Social Media Club, Social Innovation Meetups ...) and local chapters of international events (Barcamp, Mobile Monday, Crisis Camp, TED, FLOSS). The main results of this lively and dynamic environment are to bring together users and entrepreneurs, stimulate the emergence of new collaborative projects and the creation of strong communities in the field of Digital Innovation.
La Cantine thus answer the needs of Silicon Sentier and Quartier Numérique start-ups to find a place where to share their knowledge and experience and where to meet regularly with their users. Moreover, since 2010 La Cantine started a network of National (Rennes, Nantes, Toulouse) and soon International (Turin) Cantines.
Accelerate Start-up development: Le Camping
In 2011 Silicon Sentier Living Lab launched Le Camping: an accelerator program for start-ups located inside the old Paris Stock Exchange building. Twice a year, Le Camping welcomes 12 start-ups that receive an intensive acceleration program and are coached during six months by 40 mentors.
The program is completely free for start-ups and open to international participants. Its main goal is to speed up the development of promising technologies and improve the skills of their teams. Le Camping answers the need of reducing the time to market of promising start-up technologies.
Promote Digital Culture: Silicon Maniacs
Silicon Maniacs is our Digital Media team. Its role is to analyse, promote and disseminate Digital Culture through a series of Media initiatives (reportage, web documentary, live coverage) published on the web.
Conduct User Research and Experimentation: Silicon Xperience
Most central to our Living Lab activity is Silicon XPerience, our User Research and Experimentation department that will be ready for September 2011. Silicon XPerience is the catalyser of SiSe Living Lab initiatives. The objective of Silicon XPerience is to conduct Beta-tests, Field trials and Open Innovation initiatives bringing together users and enterprises. Silicon XPerience is conceived as both a Platform and a Process:
As a Platform, Silicon XPerience is an online platform for recruiting participants willing to participate in Open Innovation initiatives (exploiting La Cantine users dynamic ecosystem) or take part in agile on-line beta-tests. The first user base is composed today by the 160 start-ups that submitted a project for the first year of Le Camping and the 15.000 users (experts and not) that are part of the Silicon Sentier contact base. Our main concerns are the assessment of Usability and User Experience and the drivers and drawbacks of User Engagement in co-innovation initiatives. The platform will be open to ENOLL Living Lab and SMEs wishing to engage in cross-border piloting activities.
As a Process Silicon XPerience acts for creating synergies between actors and users inside and outside SiSe LL. Silicon XPerience is the interface and the facilitator for all sorts of test and piloting activities involving SiSe LL user base and all the actors wishing to develop a collaborative and Open approach towards ITC Innovation. The first action in this direction has been to involve the Camping start-ups in testing their services with La Cantine user community. Silicon XPerience officially kicked off in 2011 but its team already has a three years experience in conducting National and International R&D projects inside and outside Silicon Sentier. Through ENOLL, our goal is to extend the Silicon XPerience activities to develop International partnership for cross-border testing initiatives.