Innovation and organizations without growth


The feasibility and desirability of endless economic growth is increasingly being questioned by scholars and activists. While envisioning alternative economic models is key to assure the sustainability and wellbeing of present and future generations, few studies have analysed what might be the role of ‘innovation’ in a post- growth era. Innovating has become the imperative for the survival and expansion of any form of organisation. But this ‘innovate or die mania’ underpins assumptions – such as technological determinism and productivism – that neglect the socially constructed character of technological development, its politics and its capacity to enable just and equitable societies but also dystopian technocratic futures. In this seminar, I will posit that untangling innovation from growth is key to imagining a post-growth era. If growth is unsustainable, we need new narratives that change and increase the scope of the innovation concept itself, beyond technology, into cultural and institutional change, and indeed social life and social order. Organizations – in particular capitalist enterprises – are the core of modern industrial societies but are also one of the places in which the discourse of growth is legitimised and constantly reproduced. However, they can also be the places in which people can start to build the capacity for developing alternatives to challenges the growth ideology. But how organizations would look like in a different paradigm, in a system that is not based on and doesn’t rely on endless growth? Under which conditions STI (science technology and innovation ) without growth would be able to flourish? What levels of technological complexity can we reach in a non-growing economy? What policies, infrastructures and organizational forms are needed or are more likely to facilitate this new paradigm of STI? These are questions rarely asked by innovation, management and organization scholars.


Mario Pansera is currently employed as Distinguished Researcher by the UVIGO. He’s also affiliated Researcher at the Autonoma University of Barcelona. He is the PI of ERC Starting Grant for the project PROSPERA (947713) and Coordinator of the H2020 project JUST2CE. His work focuses on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Innovation for degrowth/postgrowth.
The presentation will be given on September 26, 2023, from 10.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. EST.
  • Hybrid Formula Event
  • Limited places
  • Mandatory registrations
  • To participate, please send an email to Nara Meli to attend in person (at HEC Montreal) or online (Zoom).