The Innovation Race Keynote Speaker Sessions

Who wins, who loses, who gets eliminated?
— and why we need to change the innovation game.

Why have some great countries, cultures and companies charged ahead at the forefront of innovation, while others have struggled to survive? Who are the most innovative cultures in the world and why? And what does this mean for organizations today and for the race to survive and thrive?

Through drawing out fascinating insights from different cultures around the world this keynote presentation series reveals principles we can all use to improve the way we think about innovation and ultimately change the game.

Our keynote innovation speakers are Tirian Directors Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant, co-authors of the breakthrough new book The Innovation Race: How to change a culture to change the game along with international bestseller Who Killed Creativity?... And how can we get it back?. Andrew and Gaia are top-ranked keynote speakers and Gaia is a doctoral researcher (PhD) and lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School. Between them they have designed and published over 7 books and 30 educational resources used by Fortune 500 companies through to NFPs worldwide.


  • Fast paced engaging stories and humor
  • Original insights and research from experience of over 20 years in the field
  • Interactive exercises
  • Fascinating sociological, anthropological, psychological and business research presented in an accessible way
  • Thought-provoking case studies
  • Practical tools and strategies


  • Recommended practical actions illustrated through contemporary and historic case studies
  • ‘Polar positioning’ tool for identifying and addressing the key innovation paradoxes that can support ideation through to implementation
  • Introduction to iCi Innovation Culture profile tool to identify current state and desired future state for individual organisations.
  • Introduction to iCLi Innovative Change Leader profile tool to identify individual innovation strengths and challenges and readiness for the future.

In the ’Innovation Race’, who wins, who loses, who gets eliminated - and why? Companies like Google may appear to be leading in the ‘race’, but do they have all the solutions? Our insights into Google have revealed the challenges that even apparent leading organizations can face. A survey of companies and countries over the ages has also revealed that few have survived the challenges of accelerating change, and few contemporaries are ready for next wave of digital disruption. Although many are now aware of the critical importance of innovation – and many are now also integrating buzzword concepts into their businesses (eg through innovation leaders, innovation labs, design thinking workshops etc), having trendy tech and tools in place won't necessarily guarantee success. Most companies today only have half the story right, and that only those who have identified the flipside of the typical approach will survive. This presentation reveals that by seeing alternative perspectives and principles innovative ideas can be better supported through to implementation. It identifies core sustainable innovation strategies for not only surviving but also thriving into the future.

If you venture into a monastery today you will often find both ‘meditating’ monks and ‘business’ monks. This apparently dichotomous approach has been developed to ensure Buddhism is able to hang onto strong core values while navigating future needs. Is it also possible for organizations to maintain clear core values while keeping up with the pace of innovation? Drawing from fascinating case studies, such as the strategic development of Bhutan, this session reveals how to lead and manage innovation through successfully navigating the 4 key innovation paradoxes. Practical strategies and the ‘polar positioning’ tool are introduced to show how to navigate these paradoxical tensions successfully. The fast-paced global adventure reveals how different cultures and companies around the world have effectively managed the key Exploration / Preservation innovation paradox, along with the 4 contributing sub-paradoxes.

Research has revealed that millennials want more from their work than simply a high salary or more prestige – they want a sense of purpose. Yet how often do we stop to consider the importance of employee engagement? And how often do we think about why and how we innovate in order to tap into this deeper need? This session dives deep below the surface of the most innovative cultures, and challenges the typical assumption that innovation is simply about designing bigger, better, and faster products and services. The session explores the idea that we could be in danger of innovating for the sake of innovating, and recommends instead that innovation should be about creative culture change. Practical strategies for how to create a purpose-driven innovation culture through a unique innovation culture tool (iCi) are introduced.

Are you more of an Entrepreneur – or a Processor? A Collaborator, or a Connector? Most of us have specific behavior preferences, and these preferences typically impact the way we approach innovation. Understanding these unique biases can make the difference between struggling with innovation and innovation success. This session covers how to identify and develop individual, team and organization innovation strengths for maximizing innovation at all levels. It includes a fascinating validated assessment (iCLi) and interactive ‘speed dating’ and ‘in or out’ exercises to help people explore their unique perspectives and potential. By the end of the session individuals should have identified how to work in a team to more successfully reach innovation outcomes.