2015 Distinguished Achievement Awards Shortlist

Congratulations to all shortlisted Thinkers.

Award winners will be announced at the 2015 Thinkers50 Gala on November 9, 2015 in London.

Print the complete shortlist announcement

Breakthrough Idea Award Shortlist

The T50 Breakthrough Idea Award celebrates a Eureka moment in management. It is given to a radical idea which has the potential to change the way we think about business forever. From Taylorism to the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, new ideas have challenged what we know about the world. This award is dedicated to the legacy of CK Prahalad who proved there is nothing so practical as a great idea.

Previous winners: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation for the circular economy; and Vijay Govindarajan for the $300 house.

2015 Shortlist:

1. Collaborative Consumption/Rachel Botsman Co-author of What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live (HarperCollins) and a visiting lecturer at Oxford University, Saïd Business School, Botsman’s TED talk on the collaborative economy has been watched by more than 2 million people.

2. Peers Inc./Robin Chase The incorporation of the peer-to-peer economy into the business world, championed by co-founder of Zipcar and transportation entrepreneur. Book published by Public Affairs (2015).

3. Exponential Organizations/Salim Ismail, Michael Malone and Yuri van Geest Ismail is an entrepreneur, former VP of Yahoo, founding executive director of Singularity University; Malone a leading journalist and author; and van Geest a digital consultant and speaker based in the Netherlands. Authors of Exponential Organizations (Diversion, 2014).

4. Blue Ocean Leadership/W Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne INSEAD professors and authors of global bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy (HBR, 2005), turn their attention to leadership and re-constitute it as a service.

5. Collaborative Intelligence/Dawna Markova and Angie McArthur Markova (ex-MIT) and McArthur of Professional Thinking Partners champion the concept of CQ in 2015 book Collaborative Intelligence (Random House).

6. Behavioral Fitness/Lee Newman Workplace behaviors can be fine-tuned and improved in similar ways to how we improve our bodies. Positive psychology meets leadership courtesy of consultant turned b school professor, and dean of IE School of Human Sciences & Technology.

7. Holacracy/Brian Robertson Philadelphia-based entrepreneur and former CEO, author of Holacracy (Portfolio, 2015) which provides an antidote to hierarchy.

8. Leadership Capital Index/Dave Ulrich Prolific author from the University of Michigan’s Ross School, provides an index by which investors can gauge leadership strength of an organization. Book out later this year (Berrett Koehler).

Digital Thinking Award Shortlist

Digital technology has transformed the world of work. It has also changed the way we understand ourselves as human beings. But which thinker’s research and insights shed the newest and most original light on the new digital reality? The T50 Digital Thinking Award celebrates the thinker who has done the most to convert the digital language of the 0 and 1 into useful human insights.

This is a new award.

2015 Shortlist:

1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee MIT co-authors of The Second Machine Age (Norton, 2014) and Race Against the Machine (Digital Frontier Press, 2011).

2. Enrique Dans Professor at IE Business School, blogger at enriquedans.com, one of most followed global tech opinion formers with more Twitter followers than any other professor.

3. Peter Diamandis Founder X Prize Foundation, co-author of Abundance (Free Press, 2012) and Bold (Simon & Schuster, 2015), and co-founder Singularity University.

4. Umair Haque Commentator, HBR blogger, author of The Lamp and the Light (ebook, 2015).

5. Nilofer Merchant Silicon Valley-based ex-exec, author 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (HBR, 2012).

6. Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland Director Human Dynamics Lab at MIT, author of Social Physics (Penguin, 2014).

7. Don Tapscott Author of Digital Capital, Wikinomics and other bestsellers including Radical Openness (TED, 2013).

8. Jim Whitehurst Ex-Delta CEO and now CEO of Red Hat, author The Open Organization (HBR, 2015).


Ideas into Practice

There is nothing so practical as a great idea. At Thinkers50 we value new thinking that makes a valuable contribution in the real world. Equally, we admire organizations that are open to new ideas no matter what their source. The T50 Ideas into Practice Award celebrates an organization putting new ideas to work.

This is a new award.

Haier & Zhang Ruimin Relentless change, teamworking, destruction of middle management layers, combined with long-term dynamic leadership.

Red Hat & Jim Whitehurst The open source movement applied to management of a modern corporation. Ideas captured in Whitehurst’s book The Open Organization (HBR, 2015).

Singularity University & Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil & Robert Richards Think tank meets educational institution and more. Silicon Valley-based benefit corporation seeking to change the shape of education.

Zipcar & Robin Chase The incorporation of the peer-to-peer economy into the business world made real by Chase, co-founder of Zipcar.

Innovation Award Shortlist

If necessity is the mother of invention, then innovation is its nurturing father. The word innovate comes from the Latin to “make new”. It has never been more pressing – in society as well as in organizations. The T50 Innovation Award recognizes the thinker who has contributed the most to our understanding of innovation over the last two years.

Previous winners: Navi Radjou and Clay Christensen

2015 Shortlist:

1. Scott Anthony Managing partner of Innosight, coauthor with Clay Christensen and solo of The First Mile (HBR, 2014).

2. Alexa Clay & Kyra Maya Phillips Innovation comes from the fringe. How to hustle like a gangster, think like a pirate and more alternative takes revealed in Misfit Economy (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

3. Rowan Gibson Co-founder of Innovation Excellence and author, most recently, of Four Lenses of Innovation (Wiley, 2015).

4. Vijay Govindarajan Creator of reverse innovation. Tuck Business School professor and author of forthcoming The Three Box Solution (HBR, 2016).

5. Linda Hill Harvard Business School professor and co-author Collective Genius (HBR, 2014).

6. Gary Pisano Harvard Business School professor, co-author Producing Prosperity (HBR, 2012) and most recently author of “You Need an Innovation Strategy” in Harvard Business Review.

7. Alf Rehn Finnish academic, speaker and author of Dangerous Ideas (Marshall Cavendish, 2011) and coauthor of Trendspotting (ebook, 2013).

8. Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere Professor at IE Business School and frequent HBR blogger applying disruptive innovation concepts to current managerial challenges.


Leadership Award Shortlist

Teams, corporations, and organizations of every kind, demand and require leadership. Yet the nature of that leadership and how we understand the role of the leader is constantly being reappraised. The T50 Leadership Award acknowledges thinkers who shed powerful and original new light onto this perennial and still vital subject.

Previous winners: Herminia Ibarra and Marshall Goldsmith

2015 Shortlist:

1. Amy Cuddy Harvard Business School social psychologist, author of Presence (later in 2015).

2. Marshall Goldsmith One of the world’s leading executive coaches and author, most recently of Triggers (Crown, 2015).

3. Hal Gregersen Executive director MIT Leadership Center; and co-author of The Innovator’s DNA (HBR, 2011).

4. Heidi Grant Halvorson Social psychologist based at Columbia Business School and the NeuroLeadership Institute. Author of No One Understands You and What to do About It (HBR, 2015).

5. Herminia Ibarra INSEAD professor and author of bestselling Think Like a Leader, Act Like a Leader (HBR, 2015).

6. Fred Kiel Co-founder and principal of KRW International. Author of Return on Character (HBR, 2015).

7. Gianpiero Petriglieri Psychiatrist, INSEAD professor and prolific HBR blogger.

8. Liz Wiseman Former Oracle exec and author of Multipliers (Harper, 2010) and co-author of The Multipliers Effect (Corwin, 2013). Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New World of Work (HarperBusiness, 2014).

Social Enterprise Award Shortlist

Capitalism can be a force for good. Social enterprises – businesses, which aim to do good as well as making a profit – challenge the way we think about business and its role in society. The T50 Social Enterprise Award celebrates the business thinker who has done the most to further our understanding of these nascent organizations.

This is a new award.

2015 Shortlist:

1. Liam Black One of the UK’s best-known social entrepreneurs, having led successful social enterprises, most recently Fifteen with chef Jamie Oliver. Author of There’s No Business Like Social Business (The Cat’s Pyjamas, 2004), and the Social Entrepreneur’s A to Z (2014).

2. Bill Drayton Founder and CEO of Ashoka, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding and fostering social entrepreneurs worldwide.

3. Pamela Hartigan Director of Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School; managing director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship; and co-author The Power of Unreasonable People (HBR, 2011).

4. Rebecca Henderson Professor at Harvard University, research fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research, joint editor of Leading Sustainable Change (OUP, 2015), leads ‘Reinventing capitalism’ course at Harvard Business School, and HBR blogger.

5. Leila Janah Social entrepreneur, founder of the Sama Group, youngest recipient of the Club de Madrid Leadership Award. Named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Social Enterprise Alliance, one of Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, and one of the seven most powerful women in tech in 2014 by Entrepreneur.

6. Johanna Mair Professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and visiting scholar at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. Academic editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review.

7. Alex Nicholls Professor of social entrepeneurship at Said Business School, Oxford. Author of Changing the Game: The Politics of Social Entrepreneurship (forthcoming).

8. Sally Osberg & Roger Martin Osberg is President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, and Martin is a best-selling author and director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management. Osberg and Martin are co-authors of ‘Two Keys to Sustainable Social Enterprise’ (HBR, May 2015) and Getting Beyond Better (Harvard, 2015).

Strategy Award Shortlist

Where you are going and how you intend to get there lies at the heart of management and leadership. Strategy is the intellectual and inspirational lifeblood of organizations. The T50 Strategy Award celebrates the very best of strategic thinking. If you were running a corporation who would you turn to for strategic advice?

Previous winners: Rita McGrath, W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

2015 Shortlist:

1. Richard D’Aveni Tuck Business School professor, creator of “hypercompetition”. Most recent work on impact of 3D-printing revolution. Books include Strategic Capitalism (McGraw Hill, 2012).

2. Niraj Dawar Ivey Business School professor, author of Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers (HBR, 2013).

3. Pankaj Ghemawat Professor of Management and Strategy and Director of the Center for the Globalization of Education and Management at the Stern School of Business. Author of World 3.0 (HBR, 2011).

4. Benjamin Gomes-Casseres Professor of International Business at the Brandeis International Business School. Author of Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations, (HBR, 2015).

5. Rita G McGrath Professor at Columbia Business School and author of The End of Competitive Advantage (Harvard, 2013).

6. Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur Authors of Business Model Generation (Wiley, 2010). Invented the “Business Model Canvas,” used by companies worldwide. The original book followed by Business Model You (Wiley, 2012) and Value Proposition Design (Wiley, 2014).

7. Michael E Porter & James E. Heppelmann Harvard strategy guru and Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, authored influential November 2014 Harvard Business Review article, ‘How Smart Connected Products are Transforming Competition’.

8. Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, & Janmejaya Sinha Boston Consulting Group strategy experts and co-authors of Your Strategy Needs a Strategy (HBR, 2015).

Talent Award Shortlist

In ancient Greece the talent was a unit of currency. Today, human talent has become the global currency, with organizations competing for the very best people from around the world. With the changing attitudes to work and new generations entering the workforce, the challenge now is to better understand how talented individuals work best and they can be effectively attracted, motivated and retained. Research into talent has never been so important and practically useful.

This is a new award.

2015 Shortlist:

1. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic University College, London and Columbia academic as well as head of assessment company. Author of the book Confidence (Profile, 2013).

2. Robin Ely Harvard Business School professor and expert on gender and race issues.

3. Claudio Fernandez-Araoz Senior adviser at Egon Zehnder. Author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best, (HBR, 2014).

4. Stew Friedman Practice professor at Wharton. Books include Total Leadership (HBR, 2008) and Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women, (Wharton Digital Press, 2013), and Leading the Life You Want (HBR, 2014).

5. Adam Galinsky & Maurice Schweitzer The Columbia and Wharton professors are authors of Friend and Foe (Crown, 2015) which argues that the foundation of all human interaction lies in cooperation and competition. The key is to balance the tension between the two.

6. Whitney Johnson Founder and Managing Director of Springboard Fund, and co-founder of Rose Park Advisors along with Clayton Christensen. Author of Dare, Dream, Do (Bibliomotion, 2012); and Disrupt Yourself, (Bibliomotion, 2015).

7. Doug Ready Author of Harvard Business Review articles, Senior Lecturer in Organization Effectiveness at the MIT Sloan School of Management and founder of the International Consortium for Executive Development Research.

8. Zeynep Ton Adjunct associate professor in the operations management group at MIT Sloan School of Management. Before MIT Sloan, she spent seven years on the faculty at Harvard Business School. Author of The Good Jobs Strategy (New Harvest, 2014).

Thinkers50 RADAR Award

Which of the new generation of business thinkers is most likely to shape the future of business and business thinking? Whose work has the potential to challenge the way we think about management? With the T50 Radar Award we identify and celebrate the thinker-most-likely-to.

Previous winners: Nilofer Merchant and Lucy Marcus.

2015 Shortlist:

1. David Burkus Oral Roberts University professor and author of The Myths of Creativity (Jossey-Bass, 2013).

2. Steven D’Souza Director of Programs at the FT/IE Corporate Learning Alliance and co-author of the award winning, Not Knowing: The Art of Turning Uncertainty into Possibility (LID, 2014).

3. Erica Dhawan Founder and CEO of Cotential, now champion of idea of connectional intelligence. Co-author Get Big Things Done (St Martins Press, 2015).

4. Erin Meyer INSEAD professor and author of The Culture Map (Public Affairs, 2014) and articles in Harvard Business Review.

5. Jennifer Petriglieri INSEAD professor, rated as one of best business school professors under the age of 40.

6. Erin Reid Questrom School of Business, Boston University professor. Attention grabbing 2014 HBR blog “Why some men pretend to work 80 hour weeks”.

7. Lauren Rivera A professor at Kellogg, Northwestern University, Rivera is a cultural sociologist who previously worked for Monitor.

8. Arun Sundararajan Professor at Stern School of Business NY. His research has been recognized by six Best Paper awards, and been supported by organizations including Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google and IBM.

9. Anirban Dutta Student at Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur. Winner of the Future Ideas Young Thinker’s Award for research into transport systems.

Lifetime Achievement

The T50 Lifetime Achievement Award acknowledges an exceptional individual whose work has made an important contribution to global thought leadership over an extended period. This person has brought insights that challenge the way we think about management. Their work must be global, original and embraced by practitioners.

The 2015 recipient is Henry Mintzberg, most well-known for his 1973 book The Nature of Managerial Work.

Previous winners: Ikujiro Nonaka and Charles Handy.

See the 2013 Award Results.
See the 2011 Award Results.