The Thinkers50 Direct Speakers


The new innovation agenda

This THINKERS50 IKEDA PROJECT explores how global change and technology will change your world, and help you change your business.

Ikeda Toshio (1923-1974) was one of the pioneers of modern technology in Japan. He joined Fuji Tsushinki Manufacturing Co in 1946 immediately after graduating in electrical engineering from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Ikeda was a key figure in the development of the company into the modern global corporation, Fujitsu.

Key to this was Ikeda’s work in designing Japan's first practical relay type scientific computer. Called FACOM 100, this could do a calculation in three days rather than the manual option of two years. Later, Ikeda was a central figure in the development of semiconductor technology, and the groundbreaking FACOM 230-60 as well as playing a leading role in the development of Japan’s first super-computer.

The new innovation agenda is organization-wide, embracing new technologies and changing markets, inspired by ideas from all angles, to develop business models and customer experiences create future growth.

The best new ideas about innovation

  • Open innovation
  • Design thinking
  • Biz model innovation
  • Disruptive innovation
  • Frugal innovation
  • Reverse innovation
  • Collaborative consumption
  • Personal innovation
  • Nextsensing


  • 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

  • Marshall Goldsmith

    Marshall Goldsmith

    World-renowned expert on leadership behavior and effective employee engagement

    Category: Leadership, Organisation, Work

    Ranking: #5

    #5 Thinkers50 2015; Leadership Award Winner 2015

    "A judicious blend of psychology and tell-it-a-it-is common sense, Marshall Goldsmith is corporate America’s not-so-secret secret weapon. When a Fortune 500 company wants an executive coach with impact it’s Goldsmith they call." - 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

  • Richard Florida

    Richard Florida

    World-renowned expert on the creative class

    Category: Leadership, Work

    Ranking: #14

    #14 Thinkers50 2015

    "Richard Florida is an intellectual explorer. He championed the notion of the creative class, and has gone on to map out the where and why of creative clusters." - 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

  • Jeffrey Pfeffer

    Jeffrey Pfeffer

    Insightful commentator on leadership and the exercise of power

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: #17

    #17 Thinkers50 2015

    "Jeffrey Pfeffer is one of the world’s most astute observers of the dynamics of power and influence." - 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

  • Sylvia Ann Hewlett

    Sylvia Ann Hewlett

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: #32

  • 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

  • Liz Wiseman

    Liz Wiseman

    Valuable insights on the collective intelligence of organizations

    Category: Leadership, Organisation

    Ranking: #43

    #43 Thinkers50 2015, Shortlisted: 2015 Leadership Award

    "Liz Wiseman is an astute commentator of contemporary organizations. Her observations about how some leaders multiply collective intelligence while others diminish it are thought provoking and timely." - Thinkers50

  • Doug Ready

    Doug Ready

    World-renowned expert on talent management

    Category: Leadership, Organisation, Work

    Ranking: #44

    #44 Thinkers50 2015; shortlisted 2015 Talent Award

    "Doug Ready is an expert navigator of the changing world of talent and talent management." - Thinkers50

  • Hal Gregersen

    Hal Gregersen

    Practical lessons in leadership and the use of systematic questioning to solve real problems

    Category: Innovation, Leadership

    Ranking: #46

    #46 Thinkers50 2015; shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Leadership Award in 2015

    "Hal Gregersen is always thought provoking. His work on catalytic questioning and innovation offers leaders the sorts of practical tools and techniques that can make a real difference to their jobs, organizations and personal lives." - 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

  • Nilofer Merchant

    Nilofer Merchant

    Business leader turned astute commentator on technology, organizations and the individual

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: #48

    #48 Thinkers50 2015; Winner of Future Thinker Award 2013

    "What do business audiences want? Someone who has been there and done it, someone who understands how organizations and executives work, but who brings to that fresh perspectives and ideas. That’s Nilofer Merchant." - Thinkers50

  • Whitney Johnson

    Whitney Johnson

    Applying concept of disruption to transforming lives and careers of individuals

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: #49

    #49 Thinkers50 2015; shortlisted for Leadership Award 2015

    "Whitney Johnson’s career has been a voyage of discovery – self-discovery. It is the mark of her as a thinker that she has pursued such an independent route to where she is now.  She has lived her ideas and is now intent on providing others with the means to do likewise." - 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

  • Liz Mellon

    Liz Mellon

    Pioneer of authentic leadership

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016.

    "Liz Mellon was talking about the need for authentic leaders long before it became fashionable to do so.  To all her endeavors she brings a powerful and genuine ability to ask the most important questions of leaders and to help them come up with the best possible answers." - Thinkers50

  • Freek Vermeulen

    Freek Vermeulen

    Counter intuitive insights into the realities of management

    Category: Leadership

    Ranking: RADAR

    Thinkers50 Radar 2016.

    "Academics often fail to have a definitive perspective or an opinion.  They shy away from realities.  Freek Vermeulen does not.  His work is full of powerfully argued positions and viewpoints. It is as a challenging as it is productive." - 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