The Bold Ideas To Tackle Today’s Toughest Global Challenges: Announcing The 2021 Thinkers50 Radar Class
Jan 25, 2021
Throughout 2020, company leaders and employees encountered unprecedented challenges, as I had previously shared in Forbes. But at the dawn of a new year, many issues continue to confound us and the way we work and lead. So it was encouraging for me to see that the global thought leadership needed to solve current and future challenges has not diminished a bit; if anything, it has heightened its quality, perhaps due to the urgency for practical solutions. As an executive coach to senior leaders at influential global companies, my work often involves scouring the leading management ideas out there to translate into actionable plans that can help my clients drive change. Arguably the best collection of thought leaders I've found is Thinkers50, which just released its annual Radar list of 30 thinkers to watch in the coming year. In addition to the biannual Thinkers50 list of the world's top 50 thought leaders in the world of management (which was last announced in 2019 and I covered in Forbes ), the Radar list is published annually in January. It provides an eclectic selection of 30 people working on groundbreaking ideas that reflect the current world in which we live and guide solutions we will benefit from in 2021 and beyond. These 30 thinkers have worked diligently on ideas that serve to teach, challenge, and change the world. Organizations and citizens benefit from learning about their research because of their real-world applications. As the co-founder of Thinkers50, Des Dearlove told me: "At Thinkers50, we believe there is nothing quite so practical as a great idea. When we compile the Thinkers50 Radar list, we are looking for ideas and thinkers relevant to the times we are living through and can make a real impact in the world. "
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He continued, "Managers want fresh thinking and ideas that they can use right now to help them create value for their organizations and society." Every one of the 30 thinkers selected this year provides innovative work across various industries and subject matter ( visit the full list here ). Here are just three of the research domains I'm interested in, and I was excited to see how many thinkers are offering uniquely different practical solutions in these areas. Combating bias and elevating the under-represented in today's organizations
Building diverse and inclusive organizations is one (if not the most) critical topic for leaders today. And the call for companies to proactively focus on DEI for its business potential and its moral purpose gets louder every day. Many thinkers on the Radar list are working on various ways to help organizations create more inclusion and remove bias in the people who inform them. Here are some of these thought leaders:
Jenifer Clausell-Tormos is a Spanish bio-medic scientist and founder/CEO of Develop Diverse, which helps other companies attract and retain diverse talent using science and AI technology to spell check for social bias and build inclusive cultures through the language they use in communications. Kirstin Ferguson is an Australian company director and leadership expert who created the #CelebratingWomen campaign after being frustrated with the treatment of women. Her commitment to emotionally intelligent leadership and raising up two women from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world became a movement of supporting women in the workplace every day for a year. Timnit Gebru is the co-founder of Black in AI and has conducted fascinating research on racial biases in facial recognition software, and is a leader in combating bias in technology where so much of the injustice we see in society businesses begins. Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen is a Danish entrepreneur and co-founder of Female Invest, aiming to close the financial gender gap by providing women with education on investing and personal finances. Laura Huang is a Harvard professor who studies interpersonal relationships and implicit bias in entrepreneurship and the workplace. She has researched the very things that drive our biases, like "gut feel." Her ideas offer how to take control of how others perceive you, achieve your "edge" in an interconnected world, and turn adversity into an advantage. Jackson Lu is an Assistant Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management whose research focuses on globalization's benefits and costs for individuals, groups, and organizations. He was the first to systematically research the "Bamboo Ceiling" phenomenon, which relates to why East Asians but not South Asians are disproportionately under-represented in leadership positions in the US. Leon Prieto and Simone Phipps have conducted extensive research on African-Americans' history contributing to management's development as a discipline. Prieto is an associate professor of management in the College of Business at Clayton State University, and Phipps is an associate professor of management in the School of Business at Middle Georgia State University. Their work shows the potential for cooperation as the new path for business advantage. Laura Morgan Roberts is a Professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, whose work focuses on maximizing human potential in diverse organizations and communities. Her work also emphasizes the importance of providing more meaningful opportunities to women of color who are a highly engaged and motivated segment of high-potential leaders in today's organizations. Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Many of the Radar 30 thinkers are experts in innovation. They have channeled their efforts toward understanding the future of technology, learning, and data management and how to leverage them for the benefit of organizations and society globally. Here are a few of them:
Cathy Hackl is known as one of the top women in VR and AR and a champion of diversity in tech. Her work provides the tools and insight you need to understand the business value of AR/VR, the coming of the Metaverse, and the impact of the direct to avatar and gaming economies. Mitch Joel is the founder of innovation company Six Pixels Group and the host of the longest-running business podcast in existence. He offers insights into the world of innovation, digitization, and progressive business models. Christian Sarkar is the founder of marketing consultancy Double Loop Marketing LLC and co-founder (with Philip Kotler) of The Marketing Journal. He advocates a new approach to solving the world's seemingly intractable problems. Fred Swaniker is a Ghanaian entrepreneur who founded two organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders. He is a pioneering entrepreneur focused on reimagining education to develop future leaders in the world's youngest continent: 60% of Africa's population is under 25. Dashun Wang is an Associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management and founding director of the Kellogg Center for Science of Science and Innovation. He pioneered the discipline, "science of science," using big data and AI to improve our understanding of innovation. This field has changed how we discover knowledge, fund science, train innovators, and recognize and reward excellence. Thomas Wedell Wedellsborg is an innovation expert and executive advisor and champions the importance of solving the right problems and provides the tools to do so, to frame and reframe the difficulties we face. His work enables us to learn how to innovate in everyday settings and on issues far and wide across various domains and organizations. Values, Purpose, and Relationships in Today's Enterprises
Understanding our values and our purpose in an interconnected world is more important than ever to enable the drive for success to be fulfilling and sustainable. Many thinkers on the Radar list have recognized that organizations must champion building trust, relationships, and shared values to excel and provide rich ideas on how to do so. Here are just a few:
David De Cremer is the founder and director of the National University of Singapore Business School's Centre on AI Technology for Humankind. He brings a human-centered approach to the study and organizational application of AI, focusing on how leaders can be influential in the new technology era. His work emphasizes building trust as a business asset and why compliance requires less rule-based and more behavioral integrity approaches. Traci Fenton is the founder and CEO of WorldBlu, a global membership organization helping top leaders and organizations live, lead, and work in freedom rather than fear. She created "Freedom at Work," a proven leadership model that promotes freedom-centered rather than fear-based leaders and organizational cultures through the three dimensions of mindset, leadership, and organizational design. Alyson Meister has worked on five continents and is a professor of leadership and organizational behavior at IMD. Her research focuses on how individuals develop and manage their multiple identities and how they become leaders. She has particularly delved into how feeling marginalized, stereotyped, or mislabeled impacts stress, well-being, and job performance. David Nour is the CEO of The Nour Group and champions the concept of Relationship Economics, which quantifies social capital as an organization's greatest asset. He is the creator of "Curve Benders," which demonstrates how a firm's most strategic relationships power non-linear growth in the future of work. Mandeep Rai is a journalist and former banker who set up the UAE's first venture fund. She contends that understanding our own and others' values is a critical component of decision-making and risk-taking. Her work shows how values underpin how people live, lead, and interact. Ben Whitter is the founder and Chief Experience Officer at HEX Organization and the World Employee Experience Institute (WEEI). His work puts employee experience at the heart of an organization to maximize performance and competitive advantage. He champions the view that individual and organizational capabilities can grow by approaching business in a holistic, human-centered, and experience-driven way. These are just a fraction of the exceptional 30 thought leaders selected on Thinkers50's Radar for 2021. Visit their site here to learn more about everyone on the list. With such energetic and motivated thought leadership from around the world through thinkers like these, there is great hope for solving the organizational, social, and individual problems we will face in the future. Check out my website .