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The Co-up Lab

The Co-up lab is a novel approach for spurring innovation within healthcare and life science while exploring co-creation processes and innovation space.

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Pilot Co-up Lab in Flemingsberg, Karolinska Institutet Library May 9, 2019
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The Co-up Lab combines “pop-up” innovation spaces and an incubation programme focusing on early incubation of ideas in healthcare and life science. It is designed as a semester-long educational experience. Students will develop ideas in co-creation with stakeholders, professionals and end users. With the mobile innovation spaces we “pop-up” at different locations such as the entrance of a hospital, forming an interface between the classroom and the public, the learning and real context and the innovation process and the user.

Join the Co-up Lab!

Do you envision yourself as contributing to a better society through innovation?
Do you want to bring your own idea to life within the healthcare context?
Do you want to develop skills and competences that traditional programmes don’t teach you? 

Then the Co-up Lab incubation programme might be for you! Click here to apply.

The Co-up lab incubation programme is tailored to empower individuals with an interest in healthcare and/or life science to bring their own ideas to life and become future “change agents”, taking a stake in the future of healthcare.

In real projects you will take action and develop solutions to address key healthcare priorities, such as patient empowerment (prevention, managing chronic diseases, or healthcare on a distance). For the period of one semester you will be working on your own entrepreneurial journeys in teams of five. You will be encouraged to work using design methodologies and business tools to advance your projects. Teachers and experts will hold seminars, coach and facilitate the incubation.

The programme will provide support in form of educational activities and coaching from the various partners of this project. Being a project within EIT Health, the Co-up Lab offers its participants the possibility to tap into the vast opportunities within this network.

Key concepts: co-creation, user-focus, experimentation, interdisciplinarity, improve health

Co-up Lab incubation programme

  • Start: August 26, 2019
  • End: December 16, 2019
  • Expected time investment: Approximately 10hrs/ week (which corresponds to a 7,5 credits course)
  • Available spots: 15
  • Certificate: Yes, provided by EIT Health 

The programme acknowledges the importance of own real experience and follows the design thinking process. In concrete, this means the learning will happen through hands-on project work, peer to peer learning, stakeholder interaction and “real life setting implementation” of new knowledge.Enrolled participants will work in small teams around an innovation project.

The projects shall center around our challenge of “patient empowerment”.

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      The education will focus on two key concepts: 

      User-focus, including contextual user research to understand latent needs, user testing and co-creation, facilitating patient-driven medicine and healthcare. 

      Experimentation, including prototyping, iteration, involving the creation of physical space for experimentation. 

      In order to bring the work closer to the actual users, we will take the learning and project work outside of the classrooms, with a “pop-up” at different locations in so called Co-up Lab “events”. These pop-up events will occupy various relevant arenas (e.g. the entrance of a hospital) with a physical creative space for co-creation and innovation for 2 days. On the first day of the Co-up Lab pop-ups, seminars and workshops will prepare the teams for the immersion and research which will take place on the following day.

      Themes for the events will be aligned with the projects of the enrolled participants and educational seminars and workshops will be in line with the projects development stage, according to the design process:

      • Co-up Lab 1 (11.-12. September at Södersjukhuset):   User focus and understanding the challenge
      • Co-up Lab 2 (18.-19. October at Tekniska Museet):     Ideation and co-creation
      • Co-up Lab 3 (8.-9. November at Tekniska Museet):     Prototyping and testing
      • Exhibition (December 15 at Karolinska Institutet Library Solna): Communication and implementation 
      Incubation process - CoUp lab incubation programme
      CoUp lab Incubation programme - Incubation process

      Study pace and learning activities

      The learning activities will be divided on three levels:

      1. Introductory plenary sessions (lectures, workshops and seminars)
      2. Hands-on work in teams, coaching and peer-to-peer reflection
      3. Basic online learning modules

      The hands-on work will focus on the practical incubation of ideas with the help of design and co-creation methodologies, making use of the temporary Co-up Lab innovation spaces at the different locations. The education aims to provide guidance and preparation that enables the project teams to co-create the “pop-up” events together with the local host, to collect data, test their ideas in the real setting and make sense of the information collected, to further develop the projects. The lecture and seminar part of the incubation programme will run throughout the semester but will be concentrated mainly to the Co-up Lab event days.

      The teams project’s shall be documented through a reflective journal as well as photos illustrating recent developments, break-through moments as well as difficulties. In this way we aim to be able to share your stories and allow other interested people to take part in the process. 

      The Co-up lab incubation programme will run over one semester. As a participant you are expected to spend a minimum of 10 hours per week on the programme, corresponding approximately to a 7.5 credits course. (Active attendance is the prerequisite in order to receive a certificate).  

      You can view our current preliminary schedule here.

      Learning objectives and outcomes

      Knowledge and understanding

      • User-focus and health innovation
      • Product and service development within healthcare and life science
      • Healthcare market, stakeholders and complexity of the healthcare system
      • Basics related to regulatory, IP and IPR

      Competence and skills

      • Design thinking and specific user-centered tools (e.g. empathy maps, customer-journeys, storytelling and communication)
      • Develop and test prototypes (MVPs), analyze feedback from users and other stakeholders
      • Basic business tools, e.g. SWOT, NABC and BMC

      Judgment and approach

      • Critical understanding of entrepreneurship
      • Identify how and when to apply methods taught
      • Reflect on entrepreneurial opportunities and see these as relevant for one’s
      • future career

      A certificate by EIT Health will be handed out upon successful completion of the programme. Active attendance is a prerequisite for this.

      Questions and answers on the Co-up Lab programme!

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      Application and selection

      Selection criteria are set up to enroll students (PhD, master, and bachelor) who are interested in healthcare and life science and would like to explore bringing their own ideas to life and have an impact on healthcare.

      Apply here:

      Summary of selection criteria:

      • Well formulated and demonstrated interest and ambition.
      • Experience with previous education given by EIT-Health programmes (e.g. Innovation days, Summer schools), or other relevant experience to entrepreneurship and innovation (no exclusion criteria, but will be given preference).
      • We will make sure to select a diverse and well balanced group of students.

      We will make sure to select a diverse and well balanced group of students.

      The Co-up Lab project 

      Based at Karolinska Institutet, we also aim to explore innovation spaces - what can happen and should happen in an innovation space and what do we need to offer in such a space?

      With this project, based on a concept where we “pop-up” with an innovation space at different locations, we hope to find first answers and guidelines. 

      The project is deeply rooted in the idea that public participation is key to successful and inclusive innovation. Thus, the aim is to bring the projects and learning into the actual contexts, such as Södersjukhuset. 

      Together we want to empower students to become entrepreneurial change makers of tomorrow.

      We are a consortium of several partners who have been active within the different aspects that the project aims to impact.

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      TEAM / partners

      As consortium for this project, we share an interest in exploring entrepreneurial educational, co-creation in research and innovation and spaces for innovation. 

      Unit for bioentrepreneurship, Karolinska Institutet, offers a two-year global Master's programme and single subject courses. Special interests are entrepreneurial learning, process design and facilitation. Activity leader. 

      Stockholm Region/SÖS Innovation is the regional knowledge centre of health innovation services focusing on service design and innovation close to caregivers and patients. 

      ISGlobal/University of Barcelona have long experience of teaching co-creation methodologies, and work with innovation spaces at hospitals.

      Tekniska museet/The Technical Museum (TM) is the second largest science center in Sweden. Of specific importance for the Co-up Lab is their interest in educational spaces in Stockholm. 

      GE Healthcare (GE HC) is at the forefront when it comes to health innovation, AI and digitalization.

      Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) as a research-intensive company develops drugs, vaccines and services to improve human health.

      Karolinska Institutet Innovations (KIAB) is an science business incubator at KI with expertise in business development and coaching.

      Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES) is a platform that provides courses and incubation for students of five of Stockholm’s universities.


      Please reach out if you have questions, ideas, or feedback!

      Anna Birgersdotter

      Project leader