The Thinkers50 Direct Speakers


The new strategy agenda

This THINKERS50 CHANDLER PROJECT explores how strategy is being reinvented for the fast and ever-changing markets of the twenty-first century.

Alfred Chandler (1918-2007) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning business historian.  His hugely detailed research into US companies between 1850 and 1920 formed the cornerstone of much of his work.  “In the history of business, BC stands for Before Chandler,” noted BusinessWeek.

Chandler was highly influential in the trend among large organizations for decentralization in the 1960s and 1970s. His classic book, Strategy and Structure, Chandler praised Alfred Sloan’s decentralization of General Motors in the 1920s.

Chandler defined strategy as “the determination of the long-term goals and objectives of an enterprise, and the adoption of courses of action and the allocation of resources necessary for carrying out these goals.”    He argued that strategy came before structure.  Having developed the best possible strategy, companies could then determine the most appropriate organizational structure to achieve it.   In the early sixties, this was speedily accepted as a fact of life -- no-one had previously considered strategy in such terms.

The new strategy agenda recognizes the power of ideas, how to balance direction with agility, creating platforms and partnerships from which to build new growth,  and to make the right choices in a world of unlimited possibility.

The best new ideas about strategy

  • How ideas spread
  • Inventing new markets
  • Differentiation
  • Strategic Capitalism
  • Hyper-competition
  • Core competencies
  • Business model canvas
  • Remix
  • Tilt to customers
  • Clusters
  • Brands in emerging markets
  • 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