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Ranking & Distinguished Achievement Awards

2019 Thinkers50 Ranking & Awards

London, November 18, 2019

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Ranking     Achievement Awards


2019 Ranking of Management Thinkers

#1 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.  

#2 Roger Martin

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

#3 Amy Edmondson

Amy Edmondson is an American scholar of leadership, teaming, and organizational learning.  

#4 Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

The brains behind the world-renowned “business model canvas” — instrumental in helping new businesses put strategy into practice.  

#5 Rita McGrath

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

Special Recognition

Founders’ Award

The Thinkers50 Founders’ Award, introduced in 2019, recognizes 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 Thinkers50 Founders’ Award salutes the distinguished thinkers whose contributions to management thinking have made it what it is today.


Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño
“Santiago Iñiguez, the President of IE University in Madrid, has championed the role of business education and has re-shaped the European business school marketplace. He is entrepreneurial, cosmopolitan, and thoughtful, and his leadership has been transformational for not only his own institution, but for thousands of students. We are delighted to acknowledge his huge contribution to management education with this new award.”

Lifetime Achievement

The Thinkers50 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.


Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Rosabeth Moss Kanter has championed a humane, inclusive, practical, and inspiring brand of management throughout her career. From Men and Women of the Corporation and The Change Masters to her forthcoming book, Think Outside the Building, she has translated ideas into action and has been engaged in policy and advocacy on major societal issues, including economic development, transportation, national service, and the future of cities. Her books have been required reading for all who work in and lead organizations for more than four decades,” says Des Dearlove, co-founder of Thinkers50.

2019 Distinguished Achievement Awards & Shortlisted Nominees

Breakthrough Idea Award Dedicated to the legacy of CK 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.


Amy Edmondson
Pioneer of psychological safety and author of The Fearless Organization, a ground-breaking blueprint on creating a fear-free culture.


  • Tiffani Bova for Growth IQ
  • Clayton Christensen, Karen Dillon & Efosa Ojomo for The Prosperity Paradox
  • Paul R. Daugherty & H. James Wilson for Human+Machine
  • Richard D’Aveni for The Pan-Industrial Revolution
  • Isaac Getz for The Altruistic Corporation
  • Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms for New Power
  • Anders Indset for The Q Economy

Digital Thinking Award In partnership with Accenture

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.


Marshall Van Alstyne & Geoff Parker
The go-to gurus for platform business models, Van Alstyne and Parker provide valuable guidance on how business can thrive in the era of platform technology.


  • Rachel Botsman
  • Malcom Frank, Paul Roehrig & Ben Pring
  • Joshua Gans, Ajay Agrawal & Avi Goldfarb
  • Ayanna Howard
  • Jeanne W. Ross
  • Amy Webb
  • Shoshana Zuboff

Ideas into Practice Award In partnership with the Oman Business Forum

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.


Jos de Blok
Jos de Blok is founder of the pioneering healthcare system, Buurtzorg, a model of self-management with far-reaching applications beyond healthcare.


Innovation Award In partnership with 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 and organizations. The Thinkers50 Innovation Award recognizes the thinker who has contributed the most to our understanding of innovation over the last two years.


Vijay Govindarajan
VG’s contribution to strategy and innovation is second to none. His theory of reverse innovation and his three box solution are understood and practiced around the world.


Leadership Award In partnership with the National Centre for Leadership and Management

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.


Liz Wiseman
Among the leaders we meet, Liz Wiseman’s work is the most oft-cited as being of practical use. Her book Multipliers shows how the best leaders are the ones that amplify the talents of those around them.


Marshall Goldsmith Coaching & Mentoring Award In partnership with 100 Coaches and the World Business & Executive Coaching Summit

The Marshall Goldsmith Distinguished Achievement Award for Coaching & Mentoring recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to the field of executive coaching. In recognition of Marshall Goldsmith’s own extensive and innovative contributions to the executive coaching field he was inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2018.


Sanyin Siang
Sanyin Siang teaches leaders how to drive innovation, reinvention, and transformation through breaking down silos and bridging divides.


  • Carol Kauffman
  • Tom Kolditz
  • Magdalena Mook
  • Jonathan Passmore
  • Michael Bungay Stanier
  • Gabriela Teasdale
  • Mark C. Thompson

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


Corporate Rebels (Pim de Morree & Joost Minnaar)
Inspiring workplace transformation through their mission to make work more fun, Pim de Morree and Joost Minnaar are rebels with a valiant cause.


Strategy Award In partnership with Brightline

Where you are going and how you intend to get there lie at the heart of management and leadership. Strategy is the intellectual and inspirational lifeblood of organizations. The Thinkers50 Strategy Award celebrates the very best of strategic thinking. If you were running a corporation, who would you turn to for strategic advice?


Chris Clearfield & Andras Tilcsik
Clearfield and Tilcsik’s book Meltdown is one of the stand-out business books of the last decade.


Talent Award In partnership with Executive Networks

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.


Francesca Gino
Francesca Gino is the champion of rebels as the masters of innovation and reinvention; a corporate ‘rebel rouser’ extraordinaire.