Thinkers50 in 50 Seconds: On Turkey

We have conducted several 50-second interviews with our thinkers. Here are their collected answers to one specific question: How can and should Turkey develop its own thought leaders?

[testimonial author=”Peter Fisk” image=””]

Thought leadership is about having a big, important and engaging story to tell. This is both about the companies, and the ways they have become successful. I would focus on Turkish success stories – not just the big conglomerates like Koc and Sabanci, but interesting stories like that have done something which is the best in the world. For example, ISKO, from Sanko Holding, which has developed unique high-tech denim fabrics, and is now used as a luxury ingredient within many of the world’s most expensive jeans brands. For example, Yildiz Holding that has acquired some of the world’s largest food brands like Godiva Chocolatier and McVities Jaffa Cakes, to connect brands and production technologies across global markets. Thought leadership is about understanding and defining the unique factors that created these successes, and then turning them into practical models and inspiring stories that are published and read around the world. Turkish business should be the “role model” for success in any young or emerging market. Every company from Brazil to Indonesia will want to learn from them.


[testimonial author=”Nilofer Merchant” image=””]

Every time a region wants to grow in prominence, they look outside themselves to see what to copy. For example, when some tech corridors aimed to be “like Silicon Valley”, they often tried to emulate Silicon Valley, and always found themselves always wanting. This notion of comparisonitis is corrosive on individual, organizational and societal levels.

The core of what makes any person, any region or any company distinctly themselves is found by looking within, and then (and this is important) building up the networks of people who then do idea collision. Because networks are ways to build value faster than any other mechanism we have today.

Surely, this means an investment of patience. It’s not a “cut and paste” as much as a “what can we grow here from our own seeds of ideas”. It’s surely slower, and less clear. But as Hafiz (Persian poet) said, If I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own…”, start with your onlyness. And then grow that, with others. What grows will be so distinctly powerful in its own light, that no one will be able to copy that. And your own advantage forms.


How can thought leadership help Turkey?

[testimonial author=”Peter Fisk” image=””]

Turkey wants to be a leader in its region, and Turkish businesses want to grow more internationally. In particular this means seizing the opportunities in emerging markets from Russia to Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia to China. There is no shortage of business ideas in Turkey, and no shortage of talented, intelligent managers. However many companies lack the leaders who can think and coordinate multinationally, brands that work in different cultures and new categories, and innovation that adapts ideas to new markets and reaches new categories. Thought leadership can help Turkish businesses to develop themselves in 3 crucial areas – leadership, brands and innovation.


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