The VITALISE Methodology
VITALISE is built such in a way that the final beneficiaries are the extensive and multidisciplinary research community around Health and Wellbeing as well as the relevant innovation and industry bodies (including but not limited to SMEs and startups). The ultimate goal of VITALISE, which is aligned with one of ENoLL’s strategic goals, is to harmonize the existing networks of the Health and Wellbeing Living Labs infrastructure, facilitating access and enhancing systematic ways of conducting research on this challenging domain.
On the one hand, the work plan of VITALISE has been built around a flexible harmonization procedure model while on the other hand on the advancement of trans-national collaboration. Conceptually the project will go through four (4) main phases:
- Developing Standards, as an evolutionary process and part of a continuous improvement strategy. This phase will focus on identifying and deeply understanding the targeted researchers and research domains, as well as the Health and Wellbeing Living Lab services (T2.1). The main idea is to get a clear image of what is the ongoing status at the beginning of the project. This is an important step in the procedure of developing standards that meet both financial realities and stakeholders (Living Labs and researchers) expectations. To do so, VITALISE introduces the Harmonization Board and Body meetings every 6 months (T2.2) where discussions with Living Labs and researchers will help to determine what is important, satisfaction current service delivery, and what is working well and what still needs to be improved. In addition, to gain the Living Labs’ and researchers’ commitment to any new processes and new standards, it is essential to involve them and their operational personnel in the development.
- Implementing Standards, recognizing the different types of services of the Living Labs and the stakeholders. At this phase, VITALISE will start setting standards progressively, rather than wait until complete and ‘perfect’ standards are developed. SMART approach (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) will be used during developing standards. In addition, given that Living Lab managers should have the authority and accountability to make the decisions that matter to researchers, they should be properly trained and equipped to make those decisions, and should have access to the tools they need to deliver quality service. Τhus standards and report on performance should will be widely communicated. Also, reporting on performance against standards is critical so that the operational standards become achievable.
- Evaluating Standards, standards are meant to be monitored, changed and improved over time. They are not cast in concrete once they are set. VITALISE will set researcher-driven standards in order to measure how well the Health and Wellbeing Living Labs are doing as a continuous process (T2.3). This approach will allow VITALISE to quickly identify problems with services provided to the researchers in the Living Labs. This way, VITALISE can address the issue of busy Living Lab managers who may occasionally lose sight of the ultimate objective of performance improvement, and treat its implementation as a mere data collection exercise.
- Improving Standards, is the last phase in the feedback loop of the standards development. As the main goal of the VITALISE harmonization is to continually improve delivery of Health and Wellbeing research infrastructures and standards, the project will review policies, procedures and practices periodically, during the Harmonization Board and body meetings in T2.3. At this stage, the floor is open to all the interested researchers by offering new ways of communicating their ideas (this functionality will be supported by the Wish and Complaints list component WP3)
VITALISE will realize these four (4) phases by implementing the corresponding Work Packages. In WP2, ENoLL leads the processes for introducing a lightweight model of a Harmonization process. A series of meetings of the Harmonization Board and Body, composed of the consortium partners, Living Labs beyond the consortium’s partners as well as representatives of the research community, will be conducted in order to work towards procedure, services and e-infrastructure harmonization. The first agreement on the current harmonized procedures will be reflected in the VITALISE Standard version 1. WP3, led by VICOM will work towards harmonizing the ICT tools and e- infrastructures used by the Living Labs. Feedback from the living labs regarding the low-level devices and infrastructures used as well as feedback based on the background knowledge of the researchers will allow the design and development of a software library, VITALISE SDK, that will be tailored to the stakeholders.