Workshop: "The Time Nexus of Innovation"
On Nov 22-23 2021, the Centre for Organization and Time (COT) hosted the workshop “The Time Nexus of Innovation: Innovating sustainable food between tradition and future”, which took place in the beautiful, recently renovated Carlsberg Academy. The workshop involved presentations and participation by an impressive line-up of leaders, entrepreneurs, and researchers from the Danish food industry and discussions between them and prominent innovation and organization researchers at CBS and internationally.
Professor Majken Schultz, COT member and member of the Board of Directors, Carlsberg Foundation, gave the Opening address on the legacy of Carlsberg’s founder J.C. Jacobsen as a way to look into distant futures.
Professor Tor Hernes, COT director, introduced the workshop on food and time, and posed some burning questions.
COT member Professor Silviya Svejenova presented “The temporality of food innovations” Velux-funded project, led by Professor Hernes and her, and Dr Miriam Feuls, Assistant Professor Iben Stjerne, and Associate Professor Mie Plotnikof as sub-project leaders, which inspired the encounter.
The workshop unfolded in three main streams of presentations, followed by round-table discussions and comments in plenary.
Stream 1 focused on the time horizons, opportunities and challenges in innovating within the corporation and counted with presentations by Lise Kildemark, Director of Sustainable packaging, Arla Foods, and Ole Bridal, Senior Vice President, Danish Crown who outlined their respective approaches and commitments to innovation for sustainable futures.
Stream 2 zoomed in on innovating tomorrow’s systems and technologies and involved presentations by Birgitte Skadhauge, Vice-President, Carlsberg Research Laboratory and Professor Ole G. Mouritsen, Head of Centre at Taste for Life and Professor of Gastrophysics and Innovation, Copenhagen University. They both put the focus on the importance of research as new and unknown futures are explored, in relation to both the deep past (e.g. ancient resilient crop varieties) and specific tastes (especially, umami) and food traits.
Stream 3 delved into innovating through communities and movements, showing how the power of many can bring new approaches to life and scale them up for wider impact. Dr Ramin Ebrahimnejad, Vice Chair of the Board, Association for vertical farming explained the intricacies of this farming approach and the collective efforts to scale up its impact. Michael Pilgaard, Marketing director, Dragsbæk, highlighted how Naturli’ Foods innovates in plant-based foods with the engagement of a vibrant consumers’ community. Melina Shannon-DiPietro, Executive Director, MAD, founded by renowned noma chef René Redzepi, emphasized the need for dialogue in innovation and elaborated on how the MAD Academy expands a movement and seeks to equip chefs for their essential role in sustainable food.
Claus Meyer provided a keynote on the afternoon of Nov 22, talking about “Cuisine between tradition and novelty”, the importance of deliciousness and the impressive trajectory of New Nordic Cuisine. He also shared a new project in sustainable food he is currently involved in.
The discussions revolved around the responsibility of large companies to work towards sustainable futures and the need to recognize the role of farmers in achieving sustainable food transition; the importance of researchers, entrepreneurs, communities, and movements in powering new ideas, and not least the role of taste and chefs towards the development and acceptance of new solutions. Both speakers and participants also discussed the need for policymaking and regulation to ensure sustained change towards the green transition. In addition, a number of challenges were highlighted, e.g. how to work with distant futures despite their characteristic uncertainty, how to connect diverse actors (big and small) and compete through collaborating, as well as how to sustain livelihoods while improving the ways of producing and consuming food.
To discuss opportunities for further research on time, innovation and organization, the workshop was preceded and followed by discussions of researchers from the COT-affiliated projects with internationally recognized researchers in the field of innovation, organization, and sustainability, such as Professors Tima Bansal, Raghu Garud, Julianne Reinecke, Matthias Wenzel, Associate Professor Christine Moser, among others, as well as from CBS, such as Professor Eva Boxenbaum, Associate Professor Stine Haakonsson, Assistant Professor Madeleine Rauch, and post-docs from other Velux-funded research projects at CBS (e.g. NICHE, TITAN).