Symposium Program | INCAE
  • Maria Carmela Annosi

    Scientific Coordinator of the Symposium Committee

    Maria Carmela Annosi is Senior Assistant Professor of Innovation Management and Organizational Behavior at the School of Social Sciences, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. She is a member of the Research Centre in Business Transformation (ReBoot), LUISS Business School. She is co-founder of DigiMetis network of WUR research experts on the analysis of socio-ecological systems in a digitalized era, inside Wageningen University and Research. She is an academic external collaborator of McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE). She is a Board Member of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and IFAMA Europe.

    She is in the Editorial team of Creativity and Innovation Management journal. Previously Researcher in Organizational Learning and Innovation at Ericsson System Research, Ericsson Research, Ericsson, Sweden. Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Fellow in Economia and Gestione d’Impresa at LUISS Guido Carli University. She has been a visiting scholar at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. Reviewer for International scientific journals and conferences such as Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, European Management Journal Creativity Innovation and Management, Journal of Knowledge Management, and British Food Journal. General Chairman of the International Conference WICANEM 2018. Member of the Technical Programme Committee and/or Session Chairman in several international conferences.

    She is responsible for the following courses at WUR: Organizational Behavior & Business Management and Technology and Business model innovation. Her research activities focus on institutional mechanisms providing successful inducements to individual behavioral change (institutions affecting actions) within the organization. She also studies the strategies (mechanisms and processes) used by actors (individual or firms) to change institutional arrangement rather than just comply with it, also exploring the influence of social mechanisms on actors’ motivation to initiate an institutional change and their cognitive abilities to drive it (actors and actions affecting institutions)

    Recent publication

  • Bert Kohlmann

    Bert Kohlmann was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. He grew up in Mexico-City, where he studied biology (and received the “Lázaro Cárdenas” national prize for his studies), his masters degree was done in Germany on environmental management and biosphere reserve establishment, and studied his doctorate in Australia on environmental population genetics.

    He has been working at EARTH University since 1992. During this time he chaired the Chagaspace project, the first Latin American experiment conducted in space, where blocking agents were derived from tropical plants against the vital enzymes of Trypanosoma cruzi, causal agent of Chagas disease. In conjunction with NASA he wrote for the general public the book "Costa Rica from Space", studying macroecological changes taking place in the country for a period of 20 years. This book was the first textbook written on the subject of space photography interpretation, for which he received the Public Merit Medal from NASA; the book was also sent to the New Library of Alexandria, Egypt, by the Costa Rican government, in order to represent the country.

    In 2011, with the help of the German Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety, he founded the first Central American regional centre for renewable energies and started a teaching and technology transfer programme on this subject for Latin American and African students. He has also been named Regional Ambassador by the Technical University of Dresden, has directed a US Department of Energy (DOE) joint Ohio State-EARTH University environmental project, as well as acting as a resource person for the UNESCO. On his suggestion, FAO and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), have adopted a biomonitoring system for doing rapid evaluations of river water qualitiy based on macroinvertebrate bioindicators.

    He is at present developing a bioindicator system using invertebrates for estimating tropical soil quality, as well as developing climate change models for Costa Rica. He teaches also international courses on biodiversity, climate change, and environmental management to students from the UNESCO, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) programmes.

    Dr. Kohlmann was named Associate Researcher of the National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) of Costa Rica, in recognition of his more than twenty years of studying the Costa Rican flora and fauna. He has also been named permanent member of the Costa Rican National Norm Committee for Energy Efficiency and Secretary of the Joint Pesticide Biomonitoring Committee of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Dr. Kohlmann has published three books and more than eighty book chapters and papers. He has also directed sixty Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc. and B.Agr. theses.

  • Bernard Kilian

    Bernard Kilian was born in 1969 in Germany. In spring 2000 he finished PhD in resource economics at the Department of Production Theory at the University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany. In May 2005 he has been named as a faculty member of INCAE in the area of Operations Management and Agribusiness and in 2007 he was named as Academic Coordinator of the new Master Program in Agribusiness Management. In the same year, Mr Kilian received the Emerald Award of excellence for an outstanding paper in management. In 2014 Mr Kilian was promoted to full professor at INCAE Business School and in the same year he was named as Academic Director of the MBA Program. Since 2018, Mr. Kilian was promoted to Associate Dean of the full-time Master Programs.

  • Hernán Palau

    Hernán Palau is an Agricultural Engineer and Master in Food and Agribusiness Program. Currently, he is Professor at the Agribusiness Chair and SubDirector of the Master in Agribusiness at the School of Agronomy, UBA, Argentina. He is researcher Cat III at the University of Buenos Aires and is part of IFAMA since 2002. The professional profile has 20 years of experience in different branches of the Argentine food system and in Latin America, with broad criteria due to interdisciplinary training and intervention at private, public, and academic levels.

    Experience in the private sector is based on advisory and management activities of third-party and family farming companies, as well as consulting at the organizational level, both in strategic planning and in the creation of new organizational designs. The linkage with the public sector goes through both, direct actions and intervention of agribusiness sectors/systems, the formulation of strategic plans, commercial plans of clusters and groups of farmers through participatory workshops, or formulation of projects to support competitiveness, and in the design and participation of projects of public intervention or applied research.

    Academic training also enabled them to exercise teaching and research, which in turn further nurtured the two previous professional activities based on classic and innovative conceptual frameworks and rigorous methods of analysis.

  • Maria Carmela Annosi
  • Bert Kohlmann
  • Bernard Kilian
  • Hernán Palau

Join the Discussion

The conference will address the following hot topics:

1: Exploring how digital technologies are affecting organizations and reshaping the agribusiness sector

Digital platforms and their service providers are now covering new crucial roles in orchestrating resources within the emerging platform-based business ecosystems and are reshaping how companies compete. In such ecosystems, firms have to upgrade their own managerial competencies as well as their organizational capabilities.

In this landscape, business ecosystems centered on firms’ needs to exploit the opportunities derived from the adoption of new digital technologies are booming. Traditional approaches to leading businesses are therefore increasingly replaced by a tendency to build a strong, multi-layered network of partners that exchange knowledge and create a market for digital solutions for farming and food production.

Business ecosystems are introducing new pressure for firms’ strategic renewal, including:

  1. a renewed business model;
  2. a new collaborative approach with new partners in the business ecosystem;
  3. a new culture favoring the exchange of information and an openness to learning and adapting; and
  4. the acquisition of new skills to step up the speed and scale of change together with the definition of new roles, such as a more diverse set of digital product owners.

However, there are few empirical research studies that analyze how organizations face digital transformation (Warner and Wäger, 2019), especially in the agri-food sector.

With this call for papers, we aim to extend the critical debate on the impact of digital technologies and internet firms on organizations and organizing. Today, the link between digital technologies, the increasing power of internet firms, and the accompanying power shifts in and around organizations is not well understood in theoretical or empirical terms.

We invite scholars to explore the ‘dark’ and the unexpected sides of digitalization, i.e. issues that have been (so far) overlooked, ignored, or suppressed in regards to the digitalization of organizations and organizing (see Linstead, et al., 2014).

Therefore, we invite scholars to send their contribution around, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • How do digital technologies for collecting, storing, connecting, and disseminating data change the way individuals and organizations interact?
  • How are the boundaries between technology and human (inter-)action affected?
  • What are the challenges for organizational structures and organizing processes?
  • What could the workplace of the future look like (Colbert et al., 2016; Newell, 2015)?
  • What are the dark and unexpected sides of digitalization?
  • What social and environmental issues are emerging during digitalization?
  • What does digitalization mean for the natural environment and how human beings and organizations engage with or exploit the natural environment?


COLBERT, Amy; YEE, Nick; GEORGE, Gerard. The digital workforce and the workplace of the future. 2016.

Linstead, S., Maréchal, G., & Griffin, R. W. (2014). Theorizing and researching the dark side of organization. Organization Studies, 35(2), 165-188.

Newell, S. (2015). Managing knowledge and managing knowledge work: what we know and what the future holds. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 1-17.

Warner, K. S., & Wäger, M. (2019). Building dynamic capabilities for digital transformation: An ongoing process of strategic renewal. Long Range Planning, 52(3), 326-349.

2: Multidisciplinary debate and reflection on digital transformation in agribusiness sector

Digital transformation and resultant business model innovation have fundamentally altered consumers’ expectations and behaviors, pressured traditional firms, and disrupted numerous markets.

Consumers have access to dozens of media channels, actively and effortlessly communicate with firms and other consumers, and pass through a rapidly increasing number of touchpoints in their customer journey, many of which are digital (e.g., Lemon & Verhoef, 2016).

At the company level, many traditional firms have been surpassed by innovative fast-growing digital entrants and suffered because of this. However, these new online retailers do not limit their reach to the traditional retail industry; they use their digital resources to enter markets that were previously thought to be completely unrelated to retail, in search of further growth opportunities.

Despite the ubiquity and visible impact of digital transformation and resultant new digital business models, the academic literature has so far paid surprisingly little attention to these developments, only recently starting to address the topics of digitization, and digital transformation (e.g., Venkatraman, 2017).

Until now, digital change has received the most attention within specific business disciplines. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no multidisciplinary discussion on digital transformation, which we define as a change in how a firm employs digital technologies, to develop a new digital business model that helps to create and appropriate more value for the firm (Kane et al., 2015, Liu et al., 2011, Schallmo et al., 2017).

We believe that such a multidisciplinary discussion is required, given that digital transformation is multidisciplinary by nature, as it involves changes in strategy, organization, information technology, supply chains, and marketing. In today’s business world, managers are increasingly confronted with responding to the advent of new digital technologies that blur market boundaries and change agent roles (e.g. customers become co-producers, competitors become collaborators, and firms that vertically integrate or bypass existing parties).

In order to provide managerial guidance for digital transformation, we must increase our understanding of how firms can gain a sustainable competitive advantage by building on specific resources, which strategies they should adopt to win, and how the firm’s internal organization structure must change to support these strategies.

This paper thus contributes to existing discussions on digital transformation by taking a multidisciplinary focus. With this call, we aim to reflect on the phenomenon and the literature from multiple fields to aid an understanding of digital transformation and to stimulate future research by providing strategic imperatives and presenting a research agenda.

We, therefore, invite scholars to send their contributions around but not limited to the following topics:

  • To identify the external factors that have strengthened the need for digital transformation.
  • To discuss the strategic imperatives that result from digital transformation regarding (1) required digital resources, (2) required organizational structure, (3) growth strategies, and (4) required metrics.


Kane, G. C., Palmer, D., Phillips, A. N., Kiron, D., & Buckley, N. (2015). Strategy, not technology, drives digital transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press, 14(1-25).

Lemon, K. N., & Verhoef, P. C. (2016). Understanding customer experience throughout the customer journey. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 69-96.

Liu, D. Y., Chen, S. W., & Chou, T. C. (2011). Resource fit in digital transformation. Management Decision.

Schallmo, D., Williams, C. A., & Boardman, L. (2017). Digital transformation of business models—best practice, enablers, and roadmap. International Journal of Innovation Management, 21(08), 1740014.

Venkatraman, V. (2017). The digital matrix: new rules for business transformation through technology. Greystone Books.

3: Digital innovation in organizations and their ecosystems

In an increasingly networked environment, ICT requires a completely different governance approach since ICT infrastructures are to be viewed, implemented, and organized across organizational boundaries.

ICT stakeholders belong to an ecosystem that includes suppliers, partners, competitors, customers, system providers, institutions, and government. Today the locus of competence and innovation is moving away from the company to the ecosystem of business actors, and value is being cocreated by the different actors in the network.

The implications for management and research are many and significant. By examining ICT-enabled transformation from various perspectives, further research should create a more in-depth understanding of

  1. the process of adoption and diffusion of ICT by illustrating the role that ICT plays in organizational design, process change, knowledge management, and value creation and
  2. the new (inter)organizational forms, the new drivers of value, the new ICT infrastructures, and the new governance approaches.

The traditional business paradigm revolved around the firm. The new paradigm regards the firm as a node in an ecosystem – a network of partners that collaborate to create customer experiences and new systems that can adapt themselves to evolving customer needs.

Therefore, we call for papers contributing to one of the following topics:

  • How is value created and apportioned among the players in the ecosystem? How do companies in the ecosystem establish a dialogue with consumers?
  • How can ICT be used to integrate the different partners seamlessly and provide unique customer experiences? How can resources be deployed rapidly to respond in real-time? How does the network deal with complexity?
  • What governance approach should be put in place to deploy and manage inter-organizational ICTs when the stakeholders are a constellation of partners interacting in the ecosystem?
  • What institutional arrangements will foster or impede the development and effectiveness of the new systemic models and deal with the network complexity?
4: Studying the intersection of the digitalization and sustainability trends

Digitalization and sustainability are two of the most powerful market influences in today’s corporate landscape. Each has spawned a massive amount of research about how it will change management practice, and more broadly, business and society.

Examples of these two trends converging within the organization abound, from clean technologies to greening production processes to transforming a company’s brand equity as a sustainable company.

The digitalization-sustainability convergence is also the foundation of many smart-city initiatives. Technology vendors, data suppliers, and city governments are using digital technologies to explore new ways collaboratively to improve sustainable living conditions and reduce costs.

While attention is paid to these shifts individually, less attention is directed to understanding how these trends combine to reshape the market conditions in which organizations operate.

Indeed, the intersection of these trends remains largely unexplored territory.

Therefore, we call for papers providing more insights around but not limited to the following topics:

  • How do digitalization processes positively impact sustainability? What are the main mechanisms?
5: Circular economy in agribusiness and the role of the technology and digitalization

It can certainly be argued that Agriculture 4.0 technologies have the capability to pave the way for Circular Economy (CE) principles, for instance by tracking products post-consumption in order to recover components.

However, due to the very recent emergence of these ideas, the relationship between the CE, agricultural 4.0 together with the use of technologies and digitalization needs to be widely explored. 

Circular economy offers a solution to the existing linear model, promoting a systemic change that allows the reuse of products to create new ones and thus close the complete life cycle of goods.

This work makes a case for integrating these emerging topics by:

  • Identifying technologies and resources from Agriculture 4.0 that are suitable for advancing the CE
  • How does the circular economy promote structural changes to develop low emission strategies to achieve sustainability?
  • How to move from offsetting to cooperation?
  • How can digitalization unlock the circular economy potential?
  • How can digital technologies support the transition to Circular Economy?
6: Finding solutions during emergencies: the role of digital technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic in the agri-food sector

History has shown that crises to be triggers of innovation. The unexpected global health emergency caused by the COVID-19 virus is severely changing everything we know about social and economic systems. Digital technologies (e.g. phone apps) are being adopted to obtain updated maps of the infection spreading.

High-tech and non-high-tech companies are rapidly increasing or transforming their production to meet the demand for complex medical devices or components. We also see the development of crowdsourced solutions and the use of 3D Printing to manufacture innovative or missing components for medical or personal protective equipment.

Universities and research institutes are working on new algorithms for data analysis and are even involved in manufacturing processes for chemicals and electronics. Companies are therefore responding rapidly to this emergency, both in the public and in the private sector. Through bringing together the reflections gathered during this period, firstly we strive to disseminate this emerging best practice actions to aid current and future efforts in understanding how the adoption of different innovation types occur also through the usage of digital solutions and secondly, to understand how the selection of these innovations may reshape traditional theories and approaches characterizing the food sector over the last 50 years.

We, therefore, call for papers around but not limited to the following topics:

  • How did companies in the agri-food sector attempt to anticipate, prepare, and protect their business from this crisis with the adoption of digital technologies? What kind of obstacles, if any, have prevented these measures from fully working?
  • How companies in the agri-food sector are having a positive impact on the adoption of digital innovation as a solution to emergencies? When and how is this occurring and what are the implications for innovation best practice in the future?
  • How are they organizing or reorganizing their work during the emergence due to the usage of new digital technologies? How are Open Innovation and other collaborative platforms/tools used? How are innovative solutions shared across countries? Which communication channels are used? Is absorptive capacity an issue?
  • How are high-tech companies as well as public research contributing to offer innovative products and services useful to companies in agri-food sectors during the crisis? How are new manufacturing techniques, new organizational procedures, new ways of collaborating between public and private emerging?
  • Many companies converted their manufacturing activities to produce needed supplies (e.g. from clothes to masks). How do they manage to use and acquire the inputs received from many external innovation sources?
  • How are governments interacting with public and private companies in the agri-food sector to give support during emergencies? Are they setting up specific tools? Are they successful?
  • How is technology being adopted/adapted to provide platforms and mechanisms to counteract the societal challenge due to ‘social distancing’ and ‘lock-down?