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Complex issues as the new normal: understanding capabilities when innovating for a sustainable future.

Alternative title: Samfunnsfloker som den nye normalen: Kunnskap og kompetanse for å innovere for en bærekraftig fremtid

Awarded: NOK 1.9 mill.

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2021 - 2025

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There is an increasing focus in Norway and internationally on how organizations can contribute to achieving the sustainability goals and the Paris Agreement. This industrial PhD will contribute by developing knowledge to this area. The candidate will work on the topic of sustainable innovation. The project will be carried out at the Department of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at BI Norwegian Business School, and focuses on creating new knowledge on how capabilities for sustainable innovation are developed in organizations, with a special focus on products and services related to climate/environment. Through the project, Tinkr will acquire knowledge to develop new products and services for the field of sustainable innovation. These services and products will ensure that organizations receive targeted services and products that strengthen them in their work within the complex area of sustainable innovation.

There is an increasing focus on the field of sustainable innovation, exemplified with frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals, ESG´s and EU´s new financial taxonomies. These frameworks all give direction and call for organisations to operate and develop their organisations and products sustainably. However, this candidate and the academic proposal identifies clear gaps in research based- and practical knowledge on how to develop long-term organisational capabilities for transformative sustainable innovation. Transformative sustainable innovation has some unique qualities to it compared to traditional innovation. These qualities have been researched well on a macro-perspective but researchers call for more research based on a micro- and meso approach. To thrive and succeed with complex creativity and innovation activities, there are new demands on both the individual, team and organisation. In response to this, an organisational behaviour perspective will be taken to understand the new role and capabilities of the individuals and teams working with transformative SOI activities and projects. This project will focus on the climate-related SDGs. Hence, this project will be part of an interesting development where the innovation focus moves from human-centred to planet-centred. The initial research approach is a multi-method field study with an emphasis on interviews, observations and interventions as key data collection tools. This project aims to understand organisations, teams and individuals retrospectively by discovering new knowledge together with them through interviews and workshops. Next, inspired by these experiences, the candidate will observe positively deviant individuals and teams in their work on SOI projects to get a deeper understanding, reflect, follow and be part of their projects in the tradition of action research. Analysis will be conducted based on a grounded theory approach.

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