Thinkers50 Leadership Shortlist Announced

Thinkers50 have announced the shortlist for their leadership thinking award.          

Every two years the shortlists for, what the Financial Times have described as the Oscars of Management thinking are announced by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove the founders of Thinkers50 which organises the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Ten categories

The shortlists identify eight thinkers in each of the ten award categories who have made an exceptional contribution to management thinking over the last two years.

Sheer brilliance out there

Every time the pair go through this process, they say that they are amazed at the sheer range of brilliant ideas, thinking and best practice which is happening in the world. Much of it happens almost in secret as the instigators of new thinking do not realise how innovative they are.

The Thinkers50 awards give people from around the world regardless of their job role or academic attainment to nominate individuals and organizations who are doing something in a different way and celebrating that brilliance!

Global mix

Although many people are unlikely to have heard of them the Thinkers50 Awards do attract a lot of attention from people who are ‘in the know’. The 2021 nominations include a truly global mix of brilliant management thinkers.

Force for good

Stuart and Des believe that ideas can – and must be – a force for good in the world.

Fresh thinking, they say drives the world forward and allows us all to tackle some of the huge problems the world is now facing. 


A book by CK Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid was one of the inspirations for Stuart and Des. They describe how CK’s book brought his considerable intellect to bear on an apparently intractable problem. 

The result was a profound change in perceptions and the creation of opportunities for some of the poorest people on earth.

The pair believe that there is a clear connection between CK’s inspiration and the work of many of the 2021 shortlisted thinkers.

Change the world

The nominees are people who want to make the world a better place by applying their knowledge to create, a better understanding of technology, improving the quality of leadership in organizations, or broadening understanding of exciting concepts such as cooperative advantage.

They are the thinkers the future demands.

First shortlist

The first of the ten shortlists has been announced. There will be another one every week for the next nine weeks.

The first shortlist is the for the Thinkers50 Leadership Award. Previous winners of this award include Liz Wiseman, Hal Gregersen, and Marshall Goldsmith.

2021 shortlisted thinkers for the Thinkers50 Leadership Award

Why should you be bothered?

There is an old but very true saying that if you do the same thing that you have always done you should not be surprised when you get the same results that you have always achieved.

Doing this job with WPLC I get to meet a lot of people who are responsible for the development of other people and the organisations in which they work. I am always surprised by how many of them don’t appear to have heard this saying. They are doing what they have always done but are always surprised when they do not achieve the results they planned for.

Jennifer Kenny is a management thinker who I came to greatly respect. She advised me to always question the applicability of ideas that had already been used and search out new ideas instead.

The part of your day that you spend investigating new ideas for solving perennial problems is time well spent she would say.

I would heartily recommend that every people and organisational development professional investigate the nominees for this years Thinker50 awards and continue to seek out other management thinkers.

The more management thinkers you discover the finer your eye for recognising those ideas that will work in your organisation will be and the more effective you will be at your job.