For over 20 years, Thinkers50 has been identifying, ranking, and sharing the very best in management thinking.


About the Thinkers50 Ranking

Published every two years, the Thinkers50 Ranking is the definitive list of the most influential management thinkers in the world and answers one simple question: who is the world’s most influential living management thinker?

Nominations for the Thinkers50 Ranking are open from May to July in the years that the ranking takes place (odd-numbered years). The public is invited to participate in the online nomination process by submitting the names and qualifications of thinkers they wish to put forward for consideration. Nominations are accepted and encouraged from individuals and organisations across the globe.

All nominations for the Thinkers50 Ranking are considered by the Thinkers50 Panel of Advisors. Each new ranking is announced at the Thinkers50 Awards Gala held in November every other year, culminating in a countdown of the top 10.

The Thinkers50 Ranking uses a proprietary methodology for evaluating management thinking. Thinkers50 founders Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove lead the process, with input and review from the Thinkers50 advisors. The criteria are evaluated on a weighted basis taking account of the thinker’s performance over the long term, as well as over the two years since the previous ranking.


Thinkers50 Ranking: The Selection Process

The methodology is organised by two broad concepts: Viability – the quality and relevance of ideas; and Visibility – the influence and impact of ideas in the world. These concepts are quantified using 10 criteria.


  • Relevance (applicability to current issues and management practice)
  • Rigour (quality of research and theory)
  • Reach (international reach and reach across sectors)
  • Resilience (the durability of ideas in a rapidly changing global economy).


  • Influence (a measure of citations and references)
  • Media coverage and profile (traditional and social media)
  • Presence (public speaking profile and popularity)
  • Communication skills (image, accessibility, and dissemination)
  • Affiliations (associated networks and institutions)
  • Tools and techniques (practical applications).

Nominations are accepted between 15 May and 31 July in odd-numbered years.

Thinkers50 Ranking 2013

#1 Clayton Christensen

The architect of disruptive innovation, twice topped the Thinkers50 rankings, in 2013 and 2011.

As the world’s foremost authority on innovation, Christensen is best known for his theory of disruptive innovation. His work explores how innovative approaches can lead to organizational transformation and create valuable new sources of growth. Christensen’s analysis of the ongoing failure of economic developments to generate sustainable growth – the prosperity paradox – shows how market-creating innovation holds the key to national prosperity.

#2W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

Inventors of the ground-breaking “blue ocean strategy”, paving the way for organizations to break out of fixed market boundaries and create a whole new space…

#3Roger Martin

Prolific researcher providing valuable insights in strategy, governance, democratic capitalism, and social innovation.

#4Don Tapscott

One of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society, pioneer in the advancement of the blockchain…

#5Vijay Govindarajan

Leading expert on strategy and innovation, teaches how to facilitate and execute breakthrough ideas to generate growth…

#6 Rita McGrath

Globally recognized expert on strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship; champion of harnessing disruptive influences for competitive advantage…

#7 Michael Porter

The father of modern business strategy, and the most cited scholar today in economics and business…

#8Linda Hill

Top expert on leadership and innovation, focused on global strategies, and how to harness creativity and engagement for strategic implementation…

#9 Herminia Ibarra

Distinguished authority on leadership and career development, advocating the importance of strategic networks, and the value of collaboration.

#10 Marshall Goldsmith

One of the world’s leading executive educators, coaches, and authors, who was inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2018…

#11 Pankaj Ghemawat

Pankaj Ghemawat Strategy professor and renowned globalization expert, renowed for his robust analysis of global trends…

#12 Jim Collins

Socratic advisor to leaders, focusing on what makes a business great and not just good; introduced five levels of leadership and the flywheel effect…

#13 Daniel Pink

Recognized expert on the science of motivation, the science of timing, and the business zeitgeist; writes and creates at the intersection of work…

#14 Lynda Gratton

Psychologist, with a unique focus on organizational change, and the movement of business from a competitive to a more collaborative work space…

#15 Amy Edmondson

Pioneer and champion of psychological safety, studies people, projects and organizations to uncover the secrets of succesful teaming…

#16 Sylvia Ann Hewlett

An economist and founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a non-profit think-tank, Sylvia Ann Hewlett is the author or co-author of 11 books.

#17 Richard D’Aveni

Expert on competitive dynamics and disruptive production, and a powerful voice on the future impact of technology…

#18 Marcus Buckingham

Originator of the strengths movement, who challenges and inspires people to find and apply their strengths…

#19 Gary Hamel

Bureaucracy buster, champion of management revolution, and advocate for innovation as the driver of wealth creation…

#20 Nirmalya Kumar

Lee Kong Chian Professor of Marketing at Singapore Management University & Distinguished Fellow, Emerging Markets Institute at INSEAD.

#21 Nitin Nohria

Nitin Nohria is the dean of Harvard Business School. Prolific and insightful, his books include Driven: How Human Nature Shapes our Choices (2001)…

#22Teresa Amabile

Teresa Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School.

#23Richard Rumelt

Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Rumelt has been described as the “strategist’s strategist.”

#24Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

#25Richard Florida

Urbanist, champion of gentrification and the positive role of the “creative class” on city neighbourhood rejuvenation…

#26A.G. Lafley

The chairman, president, and CEO of Procter & Gamble, Lafley led the company’s renaissance and then retired in 2010…

#27Stew Friedman

“Total leadership” guru, award-winning teacher, and best-selling author who explores how good leadership goes hand in hand with a richer life…

#28Morten Hansen

Author, professor, and management theorist, with award-winning work on social networks, collaboration, knowledge management, and corporate innovation…

#29Tammy Erickson

Leading analyst of the changing workforce, with a focus on generational differences, and how organizations can engage the hearts and minds of their employees…

#30David Ulrich

Dave Ulrich, a professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, at the University of Michigan, has a prodigious output of HR, leadership… 

#31Liu Chuanzhi

The Chairman of Legend Holdings Limited, and the Founder and Honorary Chairman of Lenovo Group Limited, Liu Chuanzhi started the business…

#32John Kotter

John Kotter is a world-recognized expert on change management and leadership. He is the Konosuke Matsushita emeritus professor…

#33Chip Heath & Dan Heath

A brotherly thought leadership double act, Chip and Dan Heath are authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (2007)…

#34Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead (2013) by Facebook COO Sandberg has re-ignited the debate about how women can best succeed in the workplace….

#35Umair Haque

Director of Havas Media Lab, founder of Bubblegeneration, and frequent tweeter and contributor to the online Harvard Business Review.

#36Daniel Goleman

Author, psychologist, and science journalist, Daniel Goleman is best known as the champion of Emotional Intelligence…

#37Henry Chesbrough

Innovation thought leader who launched the “open innovation” paradigm; his research focuses on technology management and innovation strategy…

#38Rosabeth Moss Kanter

A master of strategic and practical insights focusing on leadership and responsible capitalism…

#39Julian Birkinshaw

Recognised expert on innovation, entrepreneurship, and renewal in large corporations; prolific author making unique contributions on work practices…

#40Subir Chowdhury

“The quality prophet”, and best-selling author on “six sigma” philosophy, with insightful research on how quality affects all levels of business function and….

#41Fons Trompenaars

Author of the award winning Riding the Waves of Culture, Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business ( with Charles Hampden-Turner, 1994).

#42Chris Zook

Author of the acclaimed Profit from the Core trilogy, Zook’s 2016 book, The Founder’s Mentality, shows how leaders can overcome the predictable crises of growth…

#43Sydney Finkelstein

Award-winning professor renowned for his research on leadership, strategy, and corporate governance and how to become a “superboss”…

#44Anil Gupta

Anil K. Gupta is the Michael Dingman Chair in Strategy and Globalization at The University of Maryland at College Park. He is the author of several highly…

#45Andrew Kakabadse

Andrew Kakabadse is one of the world’s leading experts on top teams, boardroom effectiveness and governance practice. 

#46Rakesh Khurana

The Marvin Bower professor of leadership development at Harvard Business School.

#47Celia De Anca

Professor of Global Diversity at Spain’s IE Business School, Celia de Anca’s work is in an intriguing sweet spot. It covers both emerging forms of finance…

#48Liz Wiseman

Best-selling author, proponent of talent development through leadership, advocates the power of harnessing collective intelligence…

#49Doug Ready

Doug Ready is the founder and CEO of the International Consortium for Executive Development Research and senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

#50Wang Shi

Founder and chairman of Vanke, the world’s largest residential home developer.

Thinkers50 Ranking 2013

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