Whitney Johnson

Expert on the power of disruption, and how to grasp the opportunity of change, starting with the individual.


Ranked in 2023.

Previously featured:

#8 (2021), #14 (2019), #30 (2017) and #49 (2015).


Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2019 Leadership Award.



Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2015 Talent Award.



Whitney’s research and work in disruptive innovation start with the understanding that the framework of disruption is – at a very high level – a framework for managing change, which begins with the individual. She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Whether scaling a business or trying to get your people to be more innovative, Whitney’s research helps people to harness, rather than merely cope, with change.



Whitney is the CEO and co-founder of Disruption Advisors, a leadership development company that helps organizations operationalize a growth mindset in their leaders and teams. By leveraging Whitney’s S Curve model, Disruption Advisors gives leaders and their people a shared language to create positive change across an organization. Under her leadership, Disruption Advisors has been an Inc 5000 fastest growing company and Whitney was named a top 200 female founder by Inc Magazine in 2023. In 2020, she was named a Top Voice on LinkedIn, where she has 1.8 million followers. A co-founder of the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard’s Clayton Christensen, and an award-winning stock analyst on Wall Street, she now applies her understanding of momentum and growth in stocks to people. Her book, Smart Growth: Grow Your People to Grow Your Company features on the Thinkers50 2022 Best New Management Booklist.


Smart Growth: Grow Your People to Grow Your Company (HBR Press, 2022); Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work (HBR Press, 2019); Build an “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve (HBR Press, 2018); Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen when you Dare to Dream (Routledge, 2012).

Media picks


“Challenging, always interesting, and required reading for leaders.“

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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