The Daily Sabbatical/The Thinkers 50 | Dec 9, 2011 | 35551 views

Top 50 Thinkers: Tomorrow's Ideas, Today

We bring you the people whose ideas can change the quality of business leadership

The 50 Most Influential Management Gurus


1| Clayton Christensen
2011 Thinkers50 Innovation Award

He is professor of business administration at Harvard Business School (HBS); one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth.

Clayton Christensen is the bestselling author of a number of books. His seminal work, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997), received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year. His latest is The Innovative University (2011).In 2000, Christensen founded Innosight, a consulting firm that uses his theories to help companies create new growth businesses. He is also founded Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank, whose mission is to apply his theories to vexing societal problems. He sits on the board of Tata Consultancy Services.

2| W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
Winner: 2011 Thinkers50 Strategy Award

They are professors at INSEAD, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute, France.

W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are the authors of the bestselling strategy book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant (2005).

 In it, Kim and Mauborgne describe a world where most companies operate in overcrowded industries, and head-to-head competition creates “a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” Far better, they say, to create a clear blue ocean of uncontested market space through value innovation.

3| Vijay Govindarajan
Winner: 2011 Breakthrough Idea Award

He is professor of international business at the Tuck School of Business and is one of the leading experts on strategy and innovation.

Govindarajan’s most recent book, The Other Side of Innovation, focusses on how to turn an innovative idea into a successful business. In 2008, he took leave of absence from Tuck to join GE for 24 months as the company’s first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant. He also worked with Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO, and long-term collaborator Chris Trimble to produce the HBR article ‘How GE is Disrupting Itself’ (September 2009). The article introduced the concept of reverse innovation and is rated by HBR as one of the 10 big ideas of the decade.

4| Jim Collins

He is a former Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty member, who founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado in 1995.

Jim Collins is best known for his books on what makes companies long-lived and great. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994), co-authored with Jerry Porras, analysed the factors that help companies endure; Good to Great (2001), emerged from the simple question: ‘Can a good company become a great company?’ The answer is yes, Collins concluded, with the right leadership. His latest book, Great by Choice (written with Morten Hansen; 2011), seeks to understand why some companies thrive in unstable environments while others falter.

5| Michael Porter

Winner: 2005 Thinkers50; Shortlisted: 2011 Strategy Award

He is a professor at HBS and is considered by many to be the father of modern corporate strategy.

Porter’s Five Forces Framework for analysing competitive position in an industry is taught in every business school in the world. He co-founded the Monitor Group in 1983. Many of his ideas have entered mainstream management practice. His first widely read book Competitive Strategy, is now in its 63rd imprint.

 Porter then moved on to examine competition between nations in his book The Competitive Advantage of Nations (1990). More recently, Porter has examined the interaction between competition and society and proposed the concept of shared value, arguing that firms should generate value for society as well as shareholders.

6| Roger Martin
Shortlisted: 2011 Thinkers50 Book Award; 2011 Thinkers50 Breakthrough Idea Award

He is dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is best known for his work on integrative thinking as a means of solving complex problems.

Martin’s best-known book is The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking.

 In his most recent book, Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes and What Capitalism can Learn from the NFL (2011), Martin focusses on the state of American capitalism and the effects of coupling the “real” market — designing, making and selling products and services — with the “expectations” market — trading stocks, options and complex derivatives. The economic train crash of 2008 was a direct result.

7| Marshall Goldsmith
Winner: 2011 Thinkers50 Leadership Award

He is one of the world’s leading executive coaches and a pioneer of the 360-degree feedback technique.

Goldsmith’s books include The Leader of the Future (co-edited with Frances Hesselbein and Richard Beckhard, 1996), which has been translated into 25 languages, and What Got You Here – Won’t Get You There (co-authored with Mark Reiten, 2007).

 The follow-up was MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It (with Mark Reiter, 2010). Our Mojo is “the moment when we do something that’s purposeful, powerful, and positive and the rest of the world recognises it”. It is influenced by four factors, identity, achievement, reputation and acceptance.

 He is a partner in Marshall Goldsmith Group, a group of top-rank executive and management coaches. He has taught executive education at Dartmouth College’s Tuck Business School and other leading universities.

8| Marcus Buckingham
Shortlisted: 2011 Thinkers50 Leadership Award

He is best known for his work on ‘strengths’ — the idea that it is more productive to focus on people’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. He is founder and CEO of Marcus Buckingham Company.

In his book First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (1999), he argues that rules suppress positive attributes that boost performance, such as originality. Subsequent books include Now,

Discover Your Strengths (2001), and Go Put Your Strengths to Work (2007). His latest book, StandOut (2011), is published with an online personal assessment, to help readers identify their top “strength roles” which,when combined, reveal their “edge” as a leader.

9| Don Tapscott
Shortlisted: 2011 Thinkers50 Book Award; 2011 Thinkers50 Global Village Award

He is professor of management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and is one of the leading authorities on innovation, media, globalisation and the economic and social impact of technology on business and society.

Don Tapscott wrote the 1992 bestseller Paradigm Shift. His 1995 book The Digital Economy examined the transformational nature of the Internet and in 1997 he defined the Net Generation and the “digital divide” in Growing Up Digital.

 His 2000 work, Digital Capital, introduced the idea of “the business Web”. His Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything was the best selling management book in America in 2007.

 The Economist called his newest work Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World a “Schumpeterian story of creative destruction”.

10| Malcolm Gladwell

He is an award winning staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, and the author of several best-selling books.

In The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000) Gladwell observed parallels between the spread of infectious diseases and how fashions take hold. He looked for the fulcrum, the point at which seemingly small differences become a critical mass.

 In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Gladwell investigated split-second decision-making. In Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), he suggested that 10 years of practice is required to excel at a discipline. Gladwell’s books have earned him many plaudits, including a placing in Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the Business World.

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Comments (2)
Bharos Mar 17, 2012
good article
Gandharv Dec 10, 2011
An important question for us to consider here is - why are the top thinkers from academia and not from the industry? I suspect part of the reason has to do with the fact that the top innovators are really people (as can be seen from their work) who are good at pattern-recognition and are good at expressing them well through books. Additionally, is it possible that being in industry numbs you to noticing these patterns?
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