Last night's Thinkers50 Awards in London enjoyed the presence of some of the world's finest thought leaders, and according to Thinkers50 the most influential management thinker in the world is the internationally renowned strategy and competitiveness expert Professor Michael E. Porter of Harvard Business School. Before the event, Thinkers50 had already inducted six new members to the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame and published the list of award nominees (more).

#1: Michael E. Porter

Regarded as the father of modern business strategy, Porter, who has consulted to dozens of corporations and a number of national governments including the UK, returns to the No. 1 slot after previously topping the list in 2007.
Porter’s influence on business strategy has been immense. His Five Forces Framework was the definitive approach for decades and is still taught in every business school in the world. Since the financial crisis of 2008, too, Porter’s theory of Shared Value has led the way in a re-evaluation of the role and expectations of capitalism.
Most recently, Porter has applied his ideas to show how smart, connected products (those containing embedded sensors, processors and software to create connectivity) are creating a technological revolution that will transform competition and have profound implications for society.
[well]“I am so honoured to lead the Thinkers50 ranking this year. I am in wonderful company with the likes of Peter Drucker, CK Prahalad and Clay Christensen,” said Porter, in his acceptance speech on 9 November.
“Management thinking and a new conception of how corporations relate to society is one of the most powerful tools we have in addressing society’s pressing challenges. Through creating Shared Value – which Mark Kramer and I have written about – I think we can create solutions to problems like healthcare, nutrition, the environment education, and housing. Ideas truly do change the world, and management thinking unlocks value in every field, not just business.”[/well]

#2: Clayton Christensen

Second in the 2015 Thinkers50 ranking is Clayton Christensen, who topped the ranking in 2011 and 2013. Christensen is the author of several best-selling books including his classic The Innovator’s Dilemma. The book introduced the idea of disruptive innovation to a generation of managers and explained why the management practices that have allowed them to become industry leaders also make it hard for companies to develop the disruptive technologies that others may use to steal away their markets.

#3: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

In third position are the INSEAD professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. Kim and Mauborgne, Korean and American respectively, are the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy and a string of highly influential HBR articles. Blue Ocean Strategy has sold over two million copies, and has been embraced by companies, not-for-profits and national governments around the world, including Malaysia, which has a National Blue Ocean Strategy.

#4: Don Tapscott

Making the top five for the second time running is the Canadian technology guru Don Tapscott. Tapscott is probably best known for his 2006 book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything co-authored with Anthony Williams. His latest research explores how a new breed of global network enabled by the internet and other technologies, offer an alternative to traditional approaches, such as the United Nations or national governments, to address global problems.

#5: Marshall Goldsmith

The world-renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, completes the top five. An adjunct professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Goldsmith also picked up the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Award for Leadership with his latest best-selling book – Triggers: Creating Behaviour that Lasts; Becoming the Person You Want to Be.


Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards

As well as the ranking itself, 11 Distinguished Achievement Awards were presented:

  • No. 1 Ranked Management Thinker: Michael Porter
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Henry Mintzberg
  • Innovation: Linda Hill
  • Strategy: Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
  • Digital Thinking: Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee
  • Radar Thinker: Erin Meyer
  • Talent: Stew Friedman
  • Social Enterprise: Roger Martin & Sally Osberg
  • Ideas into Practice: Zhang Ruimin & Haier
  • Leadership: Marshall Goldsmith
  • Breakthrough Idea: Rachel Botsman

The list of Thinkers50 nominees for 2015 are listed here.
Discover more about Thinkers50