This paper presents an overview of the approaches and experiences from existing living labs: german rural villages in which several digital solutions had been developed and implemented. The test villages have been selected based on a competition and are funded by the Bavarian state government in the project "Digitales Dorf" (Engl. digital village). Started in 2016 several measures had been taken to push digitalization in these rural areas with the goal to create equivalent living conditions to urban areas. The research question is how digitalization enhances the value of rural areas and which methods can be used to overcome the digitalization gap with a transferable and simple approach. This paper focuses on the transformation process rather than digital solutions, and presents requirements and best practices to promote digitalization in rural environments, their municipal processes and traditional approaches in everyday life