This study explores the emergence of the living labs movement based on a literature review and interviews with experts acquainted with early living labs. The study contributes to the growing literature on innovation through living labs by addressing a research gap on why and how this movement is evolving. So doing, the study discusses the emergence of living labs from the perspectives of: (i) early living lab pioneers; (ii) early living lab activities in Europe, especially at Nokia Corporation; (iii) EU funding that supported the creation of living labs; (iv) national living lab networks; and (v) the multinational European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). Moreover, upon highlighting major events in the emergence of living labs, the study identifies three consecutive phases of the global living lab movement: (i) toward a new paradigm; (ii) learning from experience; and (iii) professional living labs.