thinkers50 ranked thinker

Whitney Johnson

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



01. ranked thinker

Ranked #8 in 2021.

Previous positions: #14 (2019), #30 (2017) and #49 (2015).


Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2019 Leadership Award.


Shortlisted for the Thinkers50 2015 Talent Award.


Johnson’s research and work in disruptive innovation start with the understanding that the framework of disruption is – at a very high level – a framework for managing change, which begins with the individual. She developed her proprietary framework and diagnostics after having co-founded the Disruptive Innovation Fund with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Whether scaling a business or trying to get your people to be more innovative, Johnson’s research helps people to harness, rather than merely cope, with change.




A former award-winning Wall Street stock analyst, Johnson is the CEO of Disruption Advisors. She is also co-founder (with Clayton Christensen) of investment firm, Rose Park Advisors. In 2017 she was selected by Marshall Goldsmith as a Top 15 Coach and in 2018 was named a Top Voice by LinkedIn. Johnson hosts the weekly Disrupt Yourself podcast.


Smart Growth (January 2022); Build an “A” Team: Play To Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve (HBR Press, 2018); Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work (Routledge, 2016); Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen when you Dare to Dream (Routledge, 2012).




Media Picks


“Challenging, always interesting, and required reading for leaders.

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50.