The Thinkers50 Direct Speakers


The new leadership agenda

The THINKERS50 FOLLET PROJECT explores how leadership really works in the age of millennials, global organisations and digital technologies. The American political scientist, Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) was decades ahead of her time. She was discussing issues such as teamworking and responsibility (now reborn as empowerment) in the first decades of the twentieth century. Follett was a female, liberal humanist in an era dominated by reactionary males intent on mechanizing the world of business.

Follett’s career was largely spent in social work though her books appeared regularly - The New State (1918), an influential description of Follett’s brand of dynamic democracy, and Creative Experience (1924), Follett’s first business-oriented book.

There was a modern ring to Follett’s advice on leadership: “The most successful leader of all is one who sees another picture not yet actualized.” Follett saw the leader's tasks as co-ordination; defining the purpose of the business and anticipation – “We look to the leader to open up new paths, new opportunities.” Follett suggested that a leader was someone who saw the whole rather than the particular, organized the experiences of the group, offered a vision of the future and trained followers to become leaders.

Today’s leadership agenda is driven by the capabilities to take organisations forwards in a world of no obvious answers – where markets are uncertain, people work collaboratively and leaders need to amplify the potential of others.

The best new ideas about leadership

  • Total leaders
  • Power
  • Disrupt yourself
  • Humble leaders (Level 5)
  • Super Bosses
  • Measuring leadership
  • Character
  • Not knowing
  • Michael Porter Speaker

    Michael Porter

    The world’s leading expert on competitiveness and business strategy

    Category: Progress, Strategy

    Ranking: #1

    #1 Thinkers50 2015

    "Michael Porter ranks #1 in the Thinkers50 in 2015, which makes him the most influential living management thinker in the world. Period." - Thinkers50

  • Roger Martin

    Roger Martin

    Valuable insights into design thinking, the realities of strategy and the emergence of social enterprise

    Category: Innovation, Organisation, Strategy

    Ranking: #7

    #7 Thinkers50 ranked 2015; Winner of the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards for Best Book (2013); and Social Enterprise (2015)

    "Roger Martin has done more to bring practical thinking tools to strategy and innovation than any other management thinker. His work with AG Lafley at Procter & Gamble gives his work a peerless credibility." - Thinkers50

  • Rita McGrath

    Rita McGrath

    As strategy and innovation converge, how we understand competitive advantage must change

    Category: Innovation, Strategy

    Ranking: #9

    #9 Thinkers50 2015; Winner of the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards for Strategy in 2013; and Shortlisted for the Best Book Award 2013

    "Rita McGrath is one of the leading lights of the new strategy school that exerts a growing influence in corporate boardrooms." - Thinkers50

  • Richard Daveni

    Richard D'Aveni

    Creator of term, hypercompetition, arch-strategist

    Category: Strategy

    Ranking: #11

    #11 Thinkers50 2015; shortlisted Strategy Award 2015

    "We have long thought that if we were CEOs, Richard D’Aveni is the man we would hire to figure out our strategic options. He thrives on rigorous debate and extracts strategic wisdom from the most unlikely of situations." -Thinkers50

  • Vijay Govindarajan

    Vijay Govindarajan

    Tried and tested ideas from the intersection of strategy and innovation

    Category: Innovation, Organisation, Strategy

    Ranking: #13

    #13 Thinkers50 ranked 2015; Winner of the Thinkers50

    "Vijay Govindarajan combines intellectual rigor with real world experience to produce practical solutions. The first ever Professor in Residence at General Electric, VG’s work at GE gave us the concept of Reverse Innovation." - Thinkers50

  • Alex Osterwalder

    Alex Osterwalder

    A revolutionary tool for creating business models

    Category: Innovation, Strategy

    Ranking: #15

    #15 Thinkers50 2015; Winner of Strategy Award 2015.

    "Alex Osterwalder has created a tool that is not only practical but also revolutionary in its impact on strategy and business model design." - Thinkers50

  • Amy Edmondson

    Amy Edmondson

    Harvard-based champion of achieving change and innovation through teamworking

    Category: Strategy, Work

    Ranking: #16

    #16 Thinkers50 2015

    "In business ideas the dream team is the soft stuff with a hard edge.  This is what Amy Edmondson brings. To the often troublesome and challenging world of how best to manage and maximize people she brings deep research, the mind of an engineer and a rigorous intellect." - Thinkers50

  • Pankaj Ghemawat

    Pankaj Ghemawat

    Original thinker on the economic and strategic realities of globalization

    Category: Innovation, Progress, Strategy

    Ranking: #29

    #29 Thinkers50 2015; Winner of Thinkers50 Best Business Book Award in 2013

    "One of the most insightful commentators on globalization, Ghemawat is a constant reminder that the world is more nuanced and less uniformly flat than some would have us believe." - Thinkers50

  • Sydney Finkelstein

    Sydney Finkelstein

    World expert on leadership -- and leadership hubris

    Category: Innovation, Strategy

    Ranking: #41

    #41 Thinkers50 2015

    "No one knows more about why leaders fail and why some are superbosses than Syd Finkelstein. He explains the common causes in a jargon-free style that offers real insights." - Thinkers50

  • Anil Gupta

    Anil Gupta

    Insights into the realities of globalization and strategies to succeed

    Category: Strategy

    Ranking: #47

    #47 Thinkers50 2015

    "A lot has been written about globalization and emerging markets.  Anil K Gupta stands apart as someone who offers original thinking and research based on on-the-ground knowledge and experience." - Thinkers50

  • David Burkus

    David Burkus

    Practical insights and resources to help understand creativity in the workplace

    Category: Innovation, Leadership, Strategy, Work

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016, shortlisted for the Innovation Award 2015.

    "David Burkus is a rising star in the field of management thinking. His ideas are sharply observed, well informed and highly relevant. Expect to hear a lot more from him." - Thinkers50

  • Alessandro Di Fiore

    Alessandro Di Fiore

    The insight-driven organization; developing judgement as well as analytics

    Category: Innovation, Strategy

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016.

    "Alessandro Di Fiore has done business a great service with the 15-word strategy statement. Every CEO should be able to articulate their strategy in fifteen words." - Thinkers50

  • Mark Esposito

    Mark Esposito

    Expert on Strategic Foresight, Megatrends and Growth Strategies and Sustainability

    Category: Innovation, Leadership, Progress, Strategy

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016.

    "Mark Esposito is a thought-leader in the areas of economic prosperity, sustainable leadership, and equality in society. When he speaks, important people listen." - Thinkers50

  • Chengwei Liu

    Chengwei Liu

    Truly counter intuitive: turning biases into advantages; understanding luck

    Category: Strategy

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016.

    "The best thinkers use research and experience to stand what we what have long assumed on its head.  They challenge our glibly accepted ways of thinking and working.  Chengwei Liu does just that." - Thinkers50