SESSION 5: Leading Innovation & Sensemaking

Executive program, based on academic research & case studies

Preparing innovation leaders and top management teams for sustainable innovation:

How can leaders deal with the complexities and challenges of constant change? The work of senior leaders often involves the entrenchment of paradoxes in organization strategy, yet they are frequently ill-prepared to deal with the resulting paradoxical demands. Gaia Grant’s latest doctoral research reveals how understanding individual, team and organisation ‘Paradoxical Innovation Orientations’ (PIOs) can assist with strategic alignment and enable ambidexterity. Drawing from thousands of survey responses, multiple interviews with heads of innovation and a deep dive immersion into one organisation over a year – along with her consulting work with organisations over 30 years – Gaia shares about how successful leaders can effectively utilise the tensions between ‘fixed’ and ‘future’ mindsets to fuel sustainable development and growth. The rare insights combine rigorous academic research with practical business experience to equip leaders to prepare a culture for innovation implementation. The significance of senior teams and the need for strategic alignment.

For many years people have believed that innovation is about by being open and taking risks. Risk takers like Steve Jobs have been venerated for their innovation accomplishments, and cutting edge companies like Google appear to be leading in the ‘innovation race’ due to their ‘open’ strategies. Yet Gaia Grant’s research– has revealed that most leaders and organisations today have only half the story right. Few are set up for long term survival. This session is identifies the unlikely paradoxical elements needed to be ‘fit for the future’. This session dives deeper into the 4 key innovation ‘Paradox Pairings’ and the ‘Innovation Change Leader (iCLi) Profiling tool. This session can also be delivered as business facilitation- for a live group of leaders needing to explore these issues in real time.

Key benefits & takeaways:

  • Challenges popular perspectives on ‘innovation winners’
  • Gaia’s research from interviews with more than 70 global innovation leaders and surveys with more than 1,000 has revealed that most contemporary organisations have only half the story right.
  • Through the unusual 'monk and mobile' perspective, the session reveals unique research findings on how to fuel innovation through successfully navigating 4 key innovation 'Paradox Pairings'.

Reflection on the company applications:

  • Charting the org: Identifying current positions, roles and points of tension
  • Polar Positioning: Mapping exercise to comparing current and desired state
  • Modelling: Understanding the iCi and iCLi models and how to apply them. Aligning specific roles with individual biases and preferences.
  • Action plans: Goal setting and action planning based on the findings of the facilitated session

More info: