Second Croatian LL EWE (LLHR) held on October 13 2023

The Living Lab Croatia (LLHR) called Eco-Women Entrepreneurs (EWE) held its second meeting. It was organized by the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture and the Croatian Chamber of Agriculture (HPK) and took place on 13 October 2023 in Zagreb at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

The Living Lab meeting was divided into two parts. The first part was attended by women innovators (LL participants) and the second part by our innovators and stakeholders.

In the first part, after the introduction to the agenda, the previous and future activities of the project were briefly presented. One of the innovators presented her experiences from the Brussels Showcase event (September 2023).

The first part of the Living Lab meeting focused on the introduction to the innovation process with an emphasis on designer thinking and the double diamond methodology. Three main fears were also discussed: the fear that the idea is not innovative, the fear of criticism and the fear of uncertainty. It was agreed that in the time between Living Lab 2 and 3, each innovator should define a goal for the next year so that each woman’s needs and goals for the next year could be identified and explored.

The innovators identified their needs and/or ideas for future activities of the LL: (1) training on promotion in social networks, (2) the annual event where each woman can present herself and her products, (3) the establishment of an association to support women where Living Lab innovators can advise other women, (4) the development of a logo for the Croatian Living Lab. The need for networking was emphasized in the discussion.

The first part of the Living Lab meeting ended with an inventory of the participants’ activities between two Living Labs and the question of what goals and needs the participants currently have. All women have expanded their businesses or experienced changes in different areas of their lives (from brand registration of products to marriage). Their goals for the near future relate to the further expansion of their businesses. Their needs are mainly related to education and training: communication skills, stress management tools, digital marketing, agricultural knowledge, legislation, accounting basics.

In the second part of the Living Lab meeting, institutions that could provide educational content were discussed and identified together with the stakeholders. The innovators and stakeholders were divided into 4 groups. Discussion within the groups focused on identifying opportunities to meet educational needs. The discussion identified problems with information about different provision at a local level. The information about workshops in remote areas of Croatia is insufficient. The timing of workshops and the terminology used need to be adapted to the needs of rural areas (after 6pm, video material). One group expressed the intention and desire to share their knowledge and experience, pointing out problems with administration at the local level, land leasing, wool thrown into the environment and the idea of including felting in the education system.

The second part ended with the conclusion that the educational workshops (smaller groups) should not last longer than one hour, that the standard Croatian language should be used, that various study tours should be organized, that all educational materials/workshops should be recorded and available, and that the speakers should be experienced practitioners.