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The most influential thinkers in the business world

November 30, 2021

A professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School ranks first on the late Thinkers50’s list of most influential business thinkers. Amy C. Edmondson was chosen for the innovative work on psychological safety, which has been groundbreaking, pointing out ways for companies to create a work environment of learning, innovation, and growth. In The Fearless Organization, Edmondson explores how to create a culture where it is “safe” to express ideas, ask questions, and admit mistakes. 

Rita McGrath, a strategy expert and professor at Columbia Business School, appears second on this year’s list, while W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, professors at Insead and authors of the best-selling book “The Ocean Strategy Blue”, share third place.

Rounding out the top 5 are Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (canvas business model formulators) and Roger Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

In 2021, the list released includes 50 academics, consultants, and writers from more than 10 countries, including the United States, China, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Belgium, and France.

According to Thinkers50, the 2021 ranking is the “most diverse and global” so far. For the first time, only the top ten are placed in ranking order with the remaining 40 listed alphabetically. “Events over the past two years led us to question what we do and why we do it. Arranging the Thinkers50 in this way fits more readily with our belief that collaboration and community lie at the heart of the Thinkers50—and organizational success,” says Thinkers50’s Stuart Crainer.

Top 10:

#1. Amy Edmondson

#2. Rita McGrath

#3. W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne

#4. Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

#5. Roger Martin

#6. Adam Grant

#7. Scott D. Anthony

#8. Whitney Johnson

#9. Daniel Pink

#10. Linda Hill


Source: Thinkers50 2021 Ranking