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Gaia Grant

Gaia Grant

PhD Candidate

The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia


Gaia Grant has over 20 years’ experience in organisational learning and development, and she has worked with and consulted to a large number of international Fortune 500 organisations during this time (clients have included Baker & McKenzie, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Deutsche Bank, Downer EDI, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, JP Morgan, Optus, Rolls Royce, Schneider, and Visa). As a founder and director of Tirian International Consultancy, Gaia has been responsible for growing and managing the company so that it now operates in a number of countries throughout Asia Pacific, along with in Europe, The Middle East and the Americas. Through the company she has developed more than 30 training programs, simulations and resources that are sold under licence worldwide.

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Thesis working title

How do individuals and groups work through paradoxical tensions in sustainable innovation?: A collective sensemaking perspective

Rapid change and complex contemporary environments have led to inherent ambiguities and related tensions in organisations. This can be particularly challenging where there are conflicting goals or needs, which can lead to the need to simultaneously deal with multiple paradoxical tensions. The push towards the need for innovative new ideas and products (eg through breakthrough innovation) can, for example, conflict with the need to manage and improve on current systems and practices (eg through incremental innovation). This is known as an exploration / exploitation innovation paradox. Simultaneously, the need for sustainability over the long term can conflict with the need to drive through profitability for stakeholders. There is a clear need for organisations to build their employees’ capabilities to enable them to deal with tensions such as these, particularly in the group context. This study will use a mixed methods approach to identify specific tensions relating to sustainable innovation paradoxes (exploration and exploitation) and explore how individuals and groups can work through these paradoxes (through the sensemaking process).

Supervisors: Eric Knight, Suresh Cuganesan