HEPHAESTUS project at IPDMC 2024 discussing Innovation in the Anthropocene

IPDMC 2024

Horizon Europe project HEPHAESTUS coordinator Marta Gasparin Copenhagen Business School, together with Dr Martin Quinn (Lancaster University) and professor William Green were (Lancaster University) keynote speakers at IPDMC (Innovation and product development conference) conference. The IPDMC 2024 took place in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland on June 5-7, 2024.

This time the organisers and participants of the conference explored how we can leverage a plurality of perspectives for impactful innovation. This theme is relevant: the changes taking place in our society challenge us to develop responses incorporating multiple points of view so as to ensure that the innovations deployed provide timely and impactful solutions.

 Main discussed topics during the keynote speech:

  • Craft and slow innovation as an alternative mode of production and consumption in the Anthropocene
  • Public value in the Anthropocene, reflecting on the implications for public policies in ecosystems
  • Innovative approaches to lifelong learning reflecting on challenges of the Anthropocene, business model innovation and value creation 


Geological data provide evidence that humans have affected the Earth System to the point that we have transitioned from the Holocene and entered the Anthropocene (Williams et al., 2019; Zalasiewicz, Waters, Williams, & Summerhayes, 2019). The Anthropocene, a term created by Nobel Prize winner Professor Paul Crutzen, describes the period of time during which human actions have had a drastic effect on the Earth and its ecosystem (Zalasiewicz, Williams, Haywood, & Ellis, 2011), on climate and on the very evolution of the geological strata (Steffen, Crutzen, & McNeill, 2007; Steffen, Grinevald, Crutzen, & McNeill, 2011). Our modes of production and consumption have led to this new epoch, and its consequences require us to urgently rethink the business system, before it is too late (Scranton, 2015) and, indeed, management learning and education (Gasparin et al., in press; O’Doherty, in press). Many organizations including Greenpeace, the Green Parties and the United Nations have for decades been calling for actions to fight climate change. In 2019, several governments pronounced a climate emergency, catalysed by extreme weather, school children (Thurnberg, 2019), climate activism (e.g., Extinction Rebellion) and social media pressures. The current models of production, distribution and consumption have stimulated and been stimulated by a culture of overconsumption and exhaustion of the natural resources, causing climate change, biodiversity loss, natural resources degradation (Dalby, 2015), ethical issues (Introna, 2009), increased poverty in disadvantaged communities (Szerszynski, 2010), waste management problems (Hird, 2017), excessive and inefficient energy use (Urry, 2014) and increased vulnerability for many developing countries in which globalized products are manufactured (Siegle, 2011). However, very few companies and very few managers are responsive to the ecological crisis and do not adopt an innovative approach to reduce their impact on the Earth System (Nyberg & Wright, 2020).