Announcing the Thinkers50 2021 Radar Award Shortlist

Nominations are in for the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards for 2021. Over the course of the next several weeks, we will be highlighting the shortlisted nominees and their achievements.

This week, we are sharing with you the nominees for the Thinkers50 Radar Award shortlist for 2021.

Ruth Gotian

1: Ruth Gotian

Ruth Gotian is the chief learning officer and assistant professor of education in anesthesiology and former assistant dean of mentoring and executive director of the Mentoring Academy at Weill Cornell Medicine. She has been hailed by the journal Nature and Columbia University as an expert in mentorship and leadership development. In addition to publishing in academic journals, she is a contributor to Forbes and Psychology Today where she writes about optimizing success. Her research — to be featured in her forthcoming book, The Success Factor (Kogan Page, 2022) — is about the mindset and skill set of peak performers, including Nobel laureates, astronauts and Olympic champions. She is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar community.


Laura Huang

2: Laura Huang

Laura Huang is a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and the author of EDGE: Turning Adversity into Advantage (Piatkus, 2020). She is also the creator and co-founder of Project EMplify, a non-profit dedicated to addressing inequality and disadvantage through personal empowerment. Her award-winning research examines interpersonal relationships and implicit bias in entrepreneurship and in the workplace, showing how we can leverage both our strengths and our flaws to our advantage—creating an edge that will keep attention, beat competition, and lead to success. Previously, she held positions in investment banking, consulting, and management, for organizations such as Standard Chartered Bank, IBM Global Services, and Johnson & Johnson. Laura holds an MS and BSE in electrical engineering, both from Duke University, an MBA from INSEAD, and a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar.


Jackson Lu

3: Jackson Lu

Jackson Lu is the Mitsui Career Development Assistant Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He received his PhD from Columbia Business School. He was the winner of the Rising Star Award from the Academy of Management Network of Leadership Scholars and was named one of the 40 Best Business School Professors Under 40 by Poets and Quants.

He is known for his impactful research on cross-cultural management and psychology, especially his research on the “Bamboo Ceiling” faced by Asians. He is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar.


Nina Montgomery

4: Nina Montgomery

An archaeologist-turned-designer, Nina Montgomery’s work asks how we might design a more equitable and sustainable capitalism fit for the twenty-first century. By day, Nina works at IDEO on social and environmental challenges that require collective action; by night, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford studying business and society. Her two books — Perspectives on Purpose (Routledge, 2019) and Perspectives on Impact (Routledge, 2019) — bring together over 40 executives on how we might reimagine the private sector and the social sector, respectively, to serve the needs of people around the world. Nina teaches graduate and undergraduate students on these subjects at Stanford University, and also interviews executives and leading scholars for her LinkedIn newsletter, Reimagining Capitalism. She is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar community.


Kaisa Snellman

5: Kaisa Snellman

Kaisa Snellman is an associate professor of organizational behaviour at INSEAD.  Kaisa’s work examines inequality based on gender, race, and class in the domains of education, employment, and health. She studies how cultural beliefs about gender and race shape outcomes for individuals as well as organizations, and how organizations contribute to economic inequality through their employment practices. Her research on the diffusion of the shareholder model in Finland received the Louis R. Pondy Best Dissertation Award from the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management in 2012. She was also a finalist for the William H. Newman Award from the Academy of Management. Kaisa earned PhD and MA degrees in Sociology from Stanford University, and an MSc degree in Economics from Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. She is a member of the Thinkers50 Radar class of 2020.


Dashun Wang

6: Dashun Wang

Dashun Wang is a professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and the McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University. At Kellogg, he is the founding director of the Center for Science of Science and Innovation (CSSI). He is best known for his contributions on the science of science, a quest to turn the scientific methods and curiosities upon science itself. His research has been published repeatedly in journals like Nature and Science, and has been featured in virtually all major global media outlets. Dashun is a recipient of multiple awards for his research and teaching, including the AFOSR Young Investigator award, Poets & Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors, Complex Systems Society’s Junior Scientific Award, the Erdos-Renyi Prize, and more. He is the author (with Albert-Laszlo Barabasi) of The Science of Science (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar.


Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

7: Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is an expert on innovation and problem solving. He is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review and the author of What’s Your Problem? (HBR, 2020). The book provides a practical response to the fact that 85 percent of companies say they tend to solve the wrong problems.  He champions the power of reframing.  Thomas is originally Danish and, prior to his current career, served for four years as an officer with the Danish Royal Guards. His first book (co-authored with Paddy Miller), Innovation as Usual (Harvard Business Press, 2013), shared how to make innovation happen in big organizations. He is a member of the 2021 Thinkers50 Radar.


Kai D. Wright

8: Kai D. Wright

For the past 10 years, Kai D. Wright has been a scholar-practitioner, teaching graduate students at Columbia University while holding senior roles advising Fortune 100 leaders, celebrities, and startup founders. Most recently, he was a partner at global agency Ogilvy. He serves on Ad Age’s U.S. Diversity Council.  His award-winning book, Follow the Feeling: Brand Building in A Noisy World (Wiley, 2019), reveals how fast-growing companies like Peloton and Disney grow strong brands through community and culture. In the past year, he has published several papers, reports, and articles on the role companies and brands should be playing in social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

He is a member of the 2020 Thinkers50 Radar.


Recipients will be announced at the Thinkers50 Awards Gala 2021 on 15-16 November 2021.

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