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 2021

#1 Amy C. Edmondson

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

Edmondson’s work on psychological safety has been groundbreaking. Her blueprint on creating a fear-free culture is essential, she argues, for organizations to be able to thrive in today’s knowledge economy in which new ideas and critical thought are essential to success. She has also explored the concept of teaming in dynamic work environments, and demonstrated how cross-organizational teaming can impact the building of smart cities.

#2 Rita McGrath

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

#3W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

Inventors of the ground-breaking “blue ocean strategy”, paving the way for organizations to break out of …

#4 Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

Osterwalder and Pigneur created the Business Model Canvas, an innovative strategy management …

#5Roger L. Martin

Martin’s influence on business strategy and thinking has been immense. He championed the idea of integrative thinking, arguing that …

#6 Adam Grant

Grant studies how we can find motivation and meaning and lead more generous and creative lives. He has identified three groups of people …

#7Scott Anthony

Leading adviser on innovation and champion of “dual transformation” strategy, helping businesses to turn disruption into advantage.

#8 Whitney Johnson

Expert on the powers of disruption, and the ways to grasp the opportunities of change, starting with the personal.

#9Dan Pink

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

#10 Linda Hill

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

Marshall van Alstyne & Geoff Parker

Developed the concept of two-sided markets, which is used extensively in platform business models, and delivered the first comprehensive analysis of platform technology.

Sinan Aral

Forensically and persuasively gets to the reality inside social media and tech.

Rachel Botsman

World-renowned expert on the explosive new era of trust and technology and what this means for life, work, and how we do business.

Tiffani Bova

Top influencer in customer experience, digital transformation, business model innovation, and the future of work…

Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

Launched into the thought leadership stratosphere in 2014 with The Second Machine Age, their work continues to provide a road-map for success in a digital economy…

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

The science of talent made accessible and usable.…

Chen Jin

One of China’s premier thinkers on innovation and pioneer of holistic innovation…

Subir 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 public policy…

Dorie Clark

Self-reinvention and branding expert, showing others how to take control of their professional lives and make an impact on the world…

Susan David

Award-winning psychologist who applies her knowledge of emotions, human motivation, and change to individuals and organizations…

Erica Dhawan

Connecting the dots for leaders as they seek to break team silos, drive exponential growth and innovate through teamwork…

Frances Frei & Anne Morriss

Leadership isn’t about you, it is about the people you work with…

Francesca Gino

Award-winning professor, researcher, and author, focused on how people can have more productive, creative, fulfilling lives…

Heidi Grant

Neuroscience-based talent strategist – teaching us the science of human performance, motivation, and decision-making…

Lynda Gratton

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

Hal Gregersen

Catalytic questioner and global innovator, exploring how asking the right questions builds leadership and innovation, and drives purposeful change…

Anil Gupta & Haiyan Wang

Global strategists, experts on entrepreneurship and the transformational rise of emerging markets, foremost China and India…

Morten Hansen

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

Herminia Ibarra

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

Sheena Iyengar

Leading expert on choice, studying the factors that influence the choices we make and how choice and meaning are intertwined…

Michael Jacobides

Champion of business ecosystems and digital platforms, collaboration and partnership; specialist on corporate turnarounds and organizational transformation…

Hubert Joly

Helping leaders put purpose to work and unleash human magic.

Frederic Laloux

Former business coach who has sparked a global movement of organizations adopting radically more powerful – and soulful – management practices…

Martin Lindstrom

International branding expert, who has led deep research into the minds of buyers, applying insights from neuroscience to develop the concept of “buyology”…

Nilofer Merchant

Prominent thought leader and strategist on the future of work in the social era, advocating for people in a technology-driven workspace…

Erin Meyer

Specialist on cross-cultural management, her evaluation of different cultures has resulted in a strategic framework for organizations seeking international success…

Katy Milkman

Making business sense of human behaviour and the decisions we make…

Tsedal Neeley

Answers the question of how leaders can scale their organizations by developing and implementing global and digital strategies…

Gianpiero Petriglieri

Expert on leadership and learning in the workplace, notably leadership in the age of “nomadic professionalism”, and broadening and strengthening…

Paul Polman & Andrew Winston

Proving that organizational and personal success need not be at the expense of the world…

Navi Radjou

How we can expand our awareness and tap into abundant inner resources — love, ingenuity, wisdom — to direct human evolution towards a healthier…

Megan Reitz

Explorer of the theory, practice and importance of speaking truth to power…

Laura Morgan Roberts

Making workplaces fairer…

Zhang Ruimin

World-renowned entrepreneur, creating a unique, innovative, evolving business model that fuses management philosophies of east and west. 

Sanyin Siang

Educator and executive coach, passionate about helping champions grow, adapt, and give back so they can keep on winning…

Simon Sinek

Leadership visionary with the intent to change how business leaders think, act, and operate, to create environments in which people work at their natural best…

Michael Watkins

Leadership transition expert, creating specific strategies to help professionals deal with both personal adaptive changes and organizational change challenges…

Amy Webb

Best-selling author and quantitative futurist researching emerging technology, business and society…

Liz Wiseman

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

Ming Zeng

Global strategy expert, advocating the value of total transparency in the high-tech online market in China and beyond…

Thinkers50 Ranking 2021

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest and greatest ideas in business, management, and thought leadership.

*mandatory field

Thinkers50 will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide news, updates, and marketing. Please confirm that you agree to have us contact you by clicking below:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at . We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Privacy Policy Update

Thinkers50 Limited has updated its Privacy Policy on 28 March 2024 with several amendments and additions to the previous version, to fully incorporate to the text information required by current applicable date protection regulation. Processing of the personal data of Thinkers50’s customers, potential customers and other stakeholders has not been changed essentially, but the texts have been clarified and amended to give more detailed information of the processing activities.

Thinkers50 Awards Gala 2023

Join us in celebration of the best in business and management thinking.