The best ideas for business leaders … What you need to know to lead and succeed in today’s fast changing world

April 5, 2019

We live in an incredible time – more change in the next 10 years than in the last 250 years. How do you make sure that your own thoughts and actions keep pace, and that you are ready to seize the new opportunities for yourself and your business?

Markets are relentlessly reinvented, exponential technologies disrupt and enable what we buy and how, social and political uncertainty challenge every business.

Ideas can change the world, but making sense of this change, and making new strategies happen is not easy. In fact, everything you learn’t at business school has probably changed.

That’s why, even the busiest CEO, the most qualified and experienced leader, still needs to take time out to think, to make new connections, and to explore “where next” and “how better.”

Thinkers50 ranks the world’s top business thinkers – academics, leaders, authors, consultants – based on the power of their ideas (how distinctive, relevant, useful and contagious it is). I’ve decoded all of these ideas, brought them together into themes, and made them practical for you to apply in your business.

So imagine listening to the top business gurus, reading all the best books, going to all the elite business schools, and getting the best of the best … all in one day … what could be a better use of you time?  This incredible one-day workshop is now available, exploring each of the 60 ideas – the key idea with a practical model, the thinker behind it, where and how to apply, and examples of it in action. Get in touch for “inspiration accelerator” for your top teams, your people or your clients.

Here is a summary of the best ideas, and the thinkers (ranked by Thinkers50) behind them:

The 10 best ideas about strategy

Download a summary here

  • Enlightened Value … Michael Porter on shared value creation for more impact
  • Finding Purpose … Simon Sinek says your Why is the purpose, cause, belief that inspires you
  • Smarter Choices … Roger Martin on the cascade of choices that best shape your future
  • End of Competitors … Rita McGrath explains how to be more than different
  • Blue Ocean Shifts … Kim and Mauborgne, shifting to uncontested market spaces
  • Disrupting the Disruptors … Scott Anthony, how incumbents beat start-ups
  • Laws of Globalisation … Pankaj Ghemawat, how to win globally
  • East-West Strategy … Anil Gupta, and winning on the new Silk Road
  • Diaspora Markets … Nurmalya Kumar on winning in emerging markets
  • Brand Tribes … Seth Godin on being relevant to customer-centric markets

Example: A+B+C = Dual Transformation … Scott Anthony explains how legacy companies can still succeed in a world where they are challenged by start-ups, by “disrupting the disruptors”. The secret is to create an model whereby you can both optimise your existing business, and create the future business, whilst leveraging your capabilities in a relevant and distinctive way to support both.

The 10 best ideas about innovation 

Download a summary here

  • Disruptive Innovation … Clay Christensen on technology-driven disruption
  • Business Models … Pigneur and Osterwalder’s one page canvas, and going beyond it
  • Platform Models … Weiru Chan on the primacy of platform business models
  • Collaborative Models … Rachel Botsman and the sharing economy
  • Design Thinking … Tom Kelley on deep diving for richer insights
  • Sense & Respond … Gothelf and Seiden on listening deeper to customers
  • Lean Innovation … Eric Ries on the speed and experimentation of start-ups
  • Frugal innovation … Navi Radjou, simple solutions from emerging markets
  • Little Ideas … David Robertson on the power of small ideas with big impact
  • Corporate Startup … Tendayi Viki on how established companies develop innovation ecosystems

Example: Trust is a major issue. Consumer trust in brands is at an all time low, instead people turn to others – often strangers – for advice, recommendations and reviews. Just look at the importance of trust rankings to businesses like Airbnb or eBay. Rachel Botsman has been a leading thinker on collaborative business models, and here she talks about the currency of trust, and what it means for your business.

The 10 best ideas about talent 

Download a summary here

  • The 100 Year Life – Linda Gratton on why living longer means more career reinventions
  • What Drives Us – Dan Pink on how to engage people with your emotional self
  • Give and Take – Adam Grant talk reciprocity, the more you give, the more you can take
  • Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goldman summaries why EQ always beats IQ
  • Collaborative Intelligence – Erika Dhawen on why together we are so much more
  • Awesomely Simple – John Spence offers an entidote to a world of complexity
  • Innovators DNA … Hal Gregorson on the new capabilities for innovation
  • Multiplier Effect – Liz Wiseman explains how to make everyone smarter
  • Happy Progress – Teresa Ambile on keeping people happy and motivated with small wins
  • Millennial Work – Karl Moore on how to engage the new generation in the workplace

Example: Everyone is motivated in different ways. Dan Pink explores the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. He argues that human motivation is largely intrinsic, and that the aspects of this motivation can be divided into autonomy, mastery and purpose.

The 10 best ideas about organisations 

Download a summary here

  • Corporate Rebels – Minnaar and Morree create the challenges to take you further
  • Culture Mapping – Erin Meyer explores how cultures work best together at work
  • Strategic Change – John Kotter on the rights steps to make change happen and stick
  • Project Business – Antonio Nieto Rodriguez on creating a project culture
  • Extreme Teaming – Amy Edmundsen on why teams always beat lone genius
  • Creative Class – Richard Florida dreams of ideas and inspiration in work
  • Micro Businesses – Zhang Ruimen leads Haier as hundreds of small businesses
  • Holocratic Organisations – Brian Robertson abolishes organisation hierarchy
  • Business Storytelling – Jennifer Aaker on how stories engage people more deeply
  • Viral Communication – Jonah Berger on how to make ideas spread further faster

Example: Every organisation is global – whether it take the form of a multicultural team, a internationally dispersed business structure, or global clients from around the world. Understanding how different cultures work together becomes crucial, and whilst we should look beyond stereotypes, cultures are defined by values and behaviours that are very different – and often in conflict. Erin Meyer explores these challenges in her fascinating development of The Culture Map.

The 10 best ideas on leadership

Download a summary here

  • Authentic Leaders – Hermina Ibarra on leaders who win by being their best selves
  • Power and Influence – Jeffrey Pfeffer on asserting your impact on others
  • Humble Leaders – Jim Collins takes us to level 5 leadership, a higher place to be
  • Executive Presence – Sylvia Ann Hewlett explains how to have more impact
  • Disrupt Yourself – Whitney Johnson applies disruption to your own self and career
  • Work and Life – Stew Friedman on going beyond balance to get the best of both
  • Leadership Triggers – Marshall Goldsmith on finding the trigger to great leadership
  • Measuring Leaders – Dave Ulrich defines leadership capital, the measure of effectiveness
  • Being a Super Boss – Syd Finkelstein surrounds himself with great talent to do better
  • Grit and Perseverence – Angela Duckworth reminds us that  nothing beats hard work

Example: Why don’t we do what we know we should do? Some of our inner beliefs can trigger failure before it happens. They sabotage change by cancelling its possibility! Discover how to recognize these sabotaging beliefs and learn what you can do about them. Marshall Goldsmith explains more in his concept of Leadership Triggers, and how they can help you to become the person you want to be.

The 10 best ideas on progress 

  • Creating the Future … Mark Esposito harnesses the mega trends to shape your better future
  • Exponential Organisations … Salim Ismael inspires your 10x rather than 10% thinking
  • Machines and Platforms … Brynoffsen and McAfee’s manifesto for the 4th industrial revolution
  • Blockchain and Wikinomics … Don Tapscott harnesses the power of digital, intelligent networks
  • 3D Printed Production … Richard D’Aveni explains how 3D printing changes everything
  • Humans and Robots … Kate Darling explores the new roles and relationships of us and them
  • Global Impact … Alexander Betts reflects on populism, refugees and why global is undemocratic
  • Circular Economy … Ellen MacArther on create a net positive  impact on the world
  • Social Entrepreneurship … Roger Martin on applying all the ideas for more impact
  • Emotional Agility … Susan David on how to survive and thrive in a time of incredible progress.

Example: Kate Darling from MIT Media Lab explores how robots are likely to take an increasingly bigger part of our lives,  exploring people’s instinctual and emotional perception of robots. A change from robots being present behind the scenes in manufacturing spaces etc. to being present in all areas of our lives is becoming a reality, whether you like it or not. Emotional affections to human alike robots are the new evolving thing. Kate takes us on the journey of anthropomorphism and what the future holds.

How can you apply them to your business? What do they challenge and support about how you think and act today? Which ones matter most to your future, and to you as a leader?

More insights and ideas, including keynotes, workshops and consulting:

More from the blog

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *