Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew & Gaia Grant, Directors of Tirian, located in Manly, NSW, Australia.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

How to Innovate yet remain grounded. Balancing the paradox of an ambidextrous approach to surviving business. We are experts in diagnosing and building innovation capability in leaders and teams to support sustainable change for our clients & partners. We specialise in organisation transformation through strategic innovation. We help leaders and teams to reflect on and find real solutions to business needs. We offer a risk-free, high-impact audience engagement. Being the original designers of interactive learning experiences, we build innovative cultures, future-ready leaders, and high-performing teams. Core topics are CREATIVITY and INNOVATION.

Tell us about yourself

We started in 1996 when we reflected on the conference industry. It seemed to have a very poor model of 1) morning shop talk and keynotes overloaded with technical information, 2) afternoon childish team building 3) getting drunk at night. Coming from an educational background, we felt there was a better way to approach this by making a morning "keynote" interactive and the afternoon team building "intelligent" and connected to the morning session topics, so it's all integrated with a memorable theme. This can then be followed by a genuine celebration at night.

Over the years, we honed our facilitation skills to work with dysfunctional teams and became recognised as keynote speakers. Using our educational background were able to bring these sessions alive with interaction. We then created positive intervening experiences through innovative simulations and engaging facilitation, which broke down barriers and provided unique leadership and team development opportunities and outcomes. Underlying this was the building platforms for open discovery and exploration of important issues.

More recently, to ensure we had the academic side covered, Gaia did a Ph.D. in innovation leadership, looking at the tension leaders have in teams when it comes to approaching innovation.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Writing two books, "Who Killed Creativity? And How Can We Get It Back?" and "The Innovation Race -How to Change a Culture to Change the Game." Then turning these topics into programs that other leaders and coaches can use and teach.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Balancing time, teams, work, finance, and yet making sure to stick with the core thing you are best at and not get swamped by all the above. This is what is known as ambidextrous leadership.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Make sure there is a balance of people on the team who are good at 'Exploring,' whilst others can remain grounded ('Preserving'). This then can become sustainable innovation allowing you to become future-ready. Be realistic yet optimistic.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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