Distinguished Achievement Awards

Acknowledging outstanding contributions to
management thinking.

about the awards

About the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards

The biennial Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards were created in 2011 to recognise the exceptional contributions of individual thinkers.

Award categories can vary slightly in any given year, but tend to fall into the categories below. Thinkers50 publishes the specific list of upcoming awards, including descriptions of the criteria for each one, during the award nomination period.

Distinguished Achievement Award Categories:

  • Breakthrough Idea Award
  • Coaching & Mentoring Award
  • Digital Thinking Award
  • Ideas into Practice Award
  • Innovation Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Radar Award
  • Strategy Award
  • Talent Award

In addition to the category awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award is given to an individual thinker in recognition of an outstanding body of work over an entire lifetime; and a Founders’ Award is given to individuals in the world of business ideas who provide industry leadership and inspiration.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Recognising an outstanding body of work over an entire lifetime.

The Thinkers50 Lifetime Achievement Award is given to someone who has had a long-term impact on the way people think about and practice management. The first-ever award in this category was given to Charles Handy in 2011. Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award gain automatic entry into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame.

FOUNDERS’ AWARD

For an individual who has paved the way for thought leadership to flourish.

The Thinkers50 Founders’ Award, introduced in 2019, recognises individuals in the world of business ideas who provide industry leadership and inspiration. It acknowledges the invaluable contribution of the architects who lay the foundations for ideas to flourish. The first Thinkers50 Founders’ Award recipient was Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, President of IE University.

SELECTION PROCESS

Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards: The Selection Process

Nominations for the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Category Awards are open from February to July in Thinkers50 Awards Gala years (odd-numbered years), and shortlists are announced in late summer. Awards are conferred in November at the biennial Thinkers50 Awards Gala event.

All nominations for the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards are considered by the Thinkers50 Panel of Advisors.

Public participation is an important part of the Awards process. In Thinkers50 Awards years (odd-numbered years) all interested parties are invited to participate in the nomination process by submitting online the names and qualifications of thinkers they wish to put forward for consideration. Nominations from across the globe are accepted – and encouraged.

The Thinkers50 Distinguished
Achievement Awards have been described by the Financial Times as

The Oscars of Management Thinking

because, like the Oscars, they are highly prestigious in their industry and are presented at a gala event attended by scores of the great management thinkers of our time. The Thinkers50 Awards Gala also features the announcement of the new Thinkers50 Ranking.

for the next Distinguished Achievement Awards

Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards

THINKERS50 awards gala 2015

9 November 2015

Every two years, Thinkers50 hosts a unique event in central London – a gathering of great business minds for a day of ideas, debate, and networking, followed by an elegant evening celebrating the very best in management thinking.

Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards 2015 winners and shortlists

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA
Award Recipient

Rachel Botsman

for collaborative consumption

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 two million people.

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Brian Robertson for Holacracy

Dave Ulrich for Leadership Capital Index

Dawna Markova & Angie McArthur for Collaborative Intelligence

Lee Newman for Behavioral Fitness

Rachel Botsman for Collaborative Consumption

Robin Chase for Peers Inc.

Salim Ismail, Michael Malone & Yuri van Geest for Exponential Organizations

W Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne for Blue Ocean Leadership

Digital Thinking
award Recipients

Erik Brynjolffson & Andrew McAfee

Rethinking the integration of minds and machines.

Digital Thinking AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland

Don Tapscott

Enrique Dans

Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

Jim Whitehurst

Nilofer Merchant

Peter Diamandis

Umair Haque

IDEAS INTO PRACTICE
Award Recipient

Haier & Zhang Ruimin

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

IDEAS INTO PRACTICE AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Haier & Zhang Ruimin

Red Hat & Jim Whitehurst

Singularity University & Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil & Robert Richards

Zipcar & Robin Chase

INNOVATION
award Recipient

Linda Hill

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

INNOVATION AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Alexa Clay & Kyra Maya Phillips

Alf Rehn

Gary Pisano

Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere

Linda Hill

Rowan Gibson

Scott Anthony

Vijay Govindarajan

LEADERSHIP
award Recipient

Marshall Goldsmith

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

LEADERSHIP AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Amy Cuddy

Fred Kiel

Gianpiero Petriglieri

Hal Gregersen

Heidi Grant

Herminia Ibarra

Liz Wiseman

Marshall Goldsmith

radar
award Recipient

Erin Meyer

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

RADAR THINKER AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Anirban Dutta

Arun Sundararajan

David Burkus

Erica Dhawan

Erin Meyer

Erin Reid

Jennifer Petriglieri

Lauren Rivera

Steven D’Souza

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
award Recipients

Sally Osberg & Roger Martin

Co-authors of ‘Two Keys to Sustainable Social Enterprise’ (HBR, May 2015) and Getting Beyond Better (Harvard, 2015).

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE 2015 SHORTLIST

Alex Nicholls

Bill Drayton

Johanna Mair

Leila Janah

Liam Black

Pamela Hartigan

Rebecca Henderson

Sally Osberg & Roger Martin

STRATEGY
award Recipients

Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

Authors of Business Model Generation (Wiley, 2010). Invented the “Business Model Canvas,” used by companies worldwide.

STRATEGY AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

Benjamin Gomes-Casseres

Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes & Janmejaya Sinha

Michael E. Porter & James E. Heppelmann

Niraj Dawar

Pankaj Ghemawat

Richard D’Aveni

Rita G. McGrath

Talent
award Recipient

Stew Friedman

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

TALENT AWARD 2015 SHORTLIST

Adam Galinsky & Maurice Schweitzer

Claudio Fernandez-Araoz

Doug Ready

Robin Ely

Stew Friedman

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Whitney Johnson

Zeynep Ton

Lifetime Achievement
award Recipient 2015

Henry Mintzberg

His work has focused on the work of the manager, and how managers are trained and developed. The author or co-author of 15 books, Mintzberg is, perhaps, best known for his work on organizational forms – identifying five types of organization: simple structure; machine bureaucracy; professional bureaucracy; the divisionalized form; and the adhocracy. He is also credited with advancing the idea of emergent strategy – the idea that effective strategy emerges from conversations within an organization rather than being imposed from on high.

Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards

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