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Ranking & Distinguished Achievement Awards

2015 Thinkers50 Ranking & Awards

London, November 9, 2015

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Ranking     Achievement Awards


2015 Ranking of Management Thinkers

#1 Michael Porter

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

#2 Clayton Christensen

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

#3 W. Chan Kim and 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.  

#4 Don Tapscott

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

#5 Marshall Goldsmith

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

2015 Distinguished Achievement Awards & Shortlisted Nominees

Breakthrough Idea Award Presented by Deepa Prahalad.

The Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award celebrates a Eureka moment in management. It is given for a radical idea, which has the potential to forever change the way we think about business. 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.


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.


  • Peers Inc./Robin Chase
  • Exponential Organizations/Salim Ismail, Michael Malone and Yuri van Geest
  • Blue Ocean Leadership/W Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
  • Collaborative Intelligence/Dawna Markova and Angie McArthur
  • Behavioral Fitness/Lee Newman
  • Holacracy/Brian Robertson
  • Leadership Capital Index/Dave Ulrich

Digital Thinking Award Presented by Tanyer Sonmezer, MCT.

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 Thinkers50 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.


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


  • Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland
  • Don Tapscott
  • Enrique Dans
  • Jim Whitehurst
  • Nilofer Merchant
  • Peter Diamandis
  • Umair Haque

Ideas into Practice Presented by Andy Lockett, Warwick Business School.

There is nothing so practical as a great idea. At Thinkers50 we value new thinking that makes a meaningful 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.


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


  • Red Hat & Jim Whitehurst
  • Singularity University & Peter Diamandis, Ray Kurzweil & Robert Richards
  • Zipcar & Robin Chase

Innovation Presented by Tango Matsumoto, Fujitsu.

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 or in organizations. The Thinkers50 Innovation Award recognizes the thinker who has contributed the most to our understanding of innovation over the last two years.


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


  • Alexa Clay & Kyra Maya Phillips
  • Alf Rehn
  • Gary Pisano
  • Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere
  • Rowan Gibson
  • Scott Anthony
  • Vijay Govindarajan


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 Thinkers50 Leadership Award acknowledges thinkers who shed powerful and original new light onto this perennial and still vital subject.


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


  • Amy Cuddy
  • Hal Gregersen
  • Heidi Grant Halvorson
  • Herminia Ibarra
  • Fred Kiel
  • Gianpiero Petriglieri
  • Liz Wiseman

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.


Henry Mintzberg
Most well-known for his 1973 book The Nature of Managerial Work.

RADAR Thinker Award Presented by Bjarke Wolmar, City of Odense.

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 Thinkers50 Radar Award we identify and celebrate the thinker-most-likely-to.


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


  • Anirban Dutta
  • Arun Sundararajan
  • David Burkus
  • Erica Dhawan
  • Erin Reid
  • Jennifer Petriglieri
  • Lauren Rivera
  • Steven D’Souza

Social Enterprise Award

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.


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).


  • Alex Nicholls
  • Bill Drayton
  • Johanna Mair
  • Leila Janah
  • Liam Black
  • Pamela Hartigan
  • Rebecca Henderson

Strategy Award


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).


  • 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 Presented by Karen Beattie.

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 how they can effectively be attracted, motivated, and retained. Research into talent has never been so important and practically useful.


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).


  • Adam Galinsky & Maurice Schweitzer
  • Claudio Fernandez-Araoz
  • Doug Ready
  • Robin Ely
  • Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
  • Whitney Johnson
  • Zeynep Ton