Szülőkategória: Participatory methods


Not translated.

TITLE: Digitalization of Regional and Urban Food Networks in Košice region, Slovakia


The URBAN INNO pilot activities were focused on the innovation of Urban Food Network in the City of Košice, improving the rural-urban linkages with the surrounding areas of Košice region, Slovakia. The effort led to the development of a digital marketplace of agricultural products to match the local production of the rural areas with the demand mainly from urban areas. This virtual marketplace will enable citizens, restaurants, canteens and other customers in the city of Košice to buy products directly from local farmers of various sizes – from single individuals and families to large producers. The activities also cover, innovation of other subsidiary processes connected to this economic activity.

These challenges can be described by many complex interlinked relationships among variety of national, regional and local actors and their different needs and requirements. The participatory approach, exploiting the benefit of the Living Lab method, was therefore an essential step in order to reach the goals in sustainable way. The chosen LEADERS methodology of the Living Lab approach covers different levels of governance – from strategic to operational – caught in the following step/blocks of actions:

L - Localise and identify your stakeholders

E - Establish a Living Lab PPP (Public Private Partnership)

A - Assess the relevance of regional issues

D – Deploy an ICT infrastructure

E - Establish a local/regional PPPP community (PPP + People)

R - Run User Driven / Open Innovation pilots

S - Summarise and evaluate the results


The interaction with the stakeholders was a long-run procedure. As the starting point of interaction, the analysis of regional environment and relevant actors was conducted to identify the potential partners and the set of smaller group of mostly relevant partners – acting as connectors to others - to be involved from the very beginning.

Following that, the set of several bi- and multilateral meetings took place all over the region, covering policy level partners, business support organizations, businesses, research and innovation actors, civil society organizations and citizens, all with the aim to firstly understand their various needs and motivations in order to attract them for interaction within the design of the pilot activities.

At later stage, we opened up to review of concept and new ideas outside of the region of implementations – the concept of the pilot activities was presented at two external thematic events. This resulted in joint implementation of various complementary initiatives and enlarged community of stakeholders being involved in the pilot.

The interaction phase was realized mainly via personal meetings, supplemented by on-line communication channels, like e-mails, and shared document management systems.


The development of the digital marketplace was realized according to Living Lab approach, involving the future users in the design and development phase since early beginning.

The adopted LEADERS methodology presents the long-lasting process of complex blocks of action:

L - Localise and identify your stakeholders - the analysis of regional environment and relevant actors was conducted.

E - Establish a Living Lab PPP - set up of the advisory group of experts to observe the pilot concept and the content.

A - Assess the relevance of regional issues – realized within several bi- and multilateral meetings organized to understand the needs and motivations of stakeholders, and presentation of the pilot concept to public at relevant thematic events.

D - Deploy an ICT infrastructure – based on the proven concept, the development of digital marketplace was initiated.

E - Establish a local/regional PPPP community (PPP + People) – The quadruple-helix innovation network, practising the patronage over the pilot project, was officially launched and the external experts were involved into pilot.

R - Run User Driven / Open Innovation pilots – The prototypes were physically tested by end-users to understand the level of intuitiveness and easiness to use and to point out the missing functionalities, even from the early stages of the development. The communication plan reviewed.

S - Summarise and evaluate the results – As the result, crucial improvements and problematic/unclear parts were identified to be implemented within last programming phase, making it minimal viable product. Ready for the launch of communication campaign.


As the result of the effort the digital marketplace for agricultural products was successfully developed, ready for “go-live” mode. The marketplace is the environment for presentation of local farmers as well as their production and the tool enabling citizens and other local consumers (like hotels, restaurants and school canteens) to buy processed or unprocessed agricultural products. This ICT tool can be described by following features:

  • Multi-media presentation of the local producers and their business stories
  • Intuitive management of product portfolio, delivery and payment conditions
  • Advanced searching tools – including the search according the category, seller / producer, or distance between user and the seller
  • Interactive map of the sellers/producers enabling filtering according to categories and other characteristics
  • Easy processing of the purchase by final customer
  • Tools for feedback – reviews, comments – with aim to enable fast identify products or farmers who do not comply with quality requirements
  • High-standards implemented for technical security/trust.