Wanted: Thought Leaders

A thought leader is a futurist or person who is recognized for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights.  The term was coined in 1994, by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the magazine, Strategy & Business. The term was used to designate interview subjects for that magazine who had contributed new thoughts to business.

 Among the first “thought leaders,” were British management thinker, Charles Handy, who advanced the idea of a “portfolio worker” and the “Shamrock Organization”, Stanford economist Paul Romer, Mitsubishi president, Minoru Makihara, and University of Michigan strategist, C.K. Prahalad, author of a number of well known works in corporate strategy including “The Core Competence of the Corporation” (Harvard Business Review, May-June, 1990); and his co-author, Gary Hamel, a professor at the London Business School. And at the turn of the millennium Chris Harris in his trend leading insight book Hyperinnovation.

 The first treatise to begin the address a rapidly interconnecting, growing, technologically innovative world. Since that time, the term has spread from business to other disciplines and has come to mean someone who enlivens old processes with new ideas. As a result, there are thought leaders in the sciences, humanities and even in government. (Wikipedia)

Apply within.

4 thoughts on “Wanted: Thought Leaders

  1. “children have the habit of thinking. Education is designed to cure them of it.” Bertrand Russell

    We could easily swap teachers for children in this quote, we are all so caught up in operational processes that thinking or creativity has become a luxury. I think that school leaders are wary of implementing radical change, fearing a staff backlash when in reality many staff would welcome a rethink on how we do things. Sadly, when looking at many of the curriculum structures proposed in response to CfE I see 1 hour for cross- curricular projects and little else, not quite hyperinnovation!

  2. Perhaps we need to get better at recognizing thought leadership from those without the confidence to self promote.

    Every workshop I’ve ever been at has provoked at least one truly innovative insight from an unexpected source.

    New thoughts are everywhere – it’s our radar that’s obsolete.

  3. I agree with Sam Cassels’ comments on thought leadership. Very often the most creative, innovative thinking exists in unexpected, untapped sources.

    If we link this to the topic of Community Based Management of Schools, pursuing the wisest, most visionary members of the community- unlikely to be the most vocal – is going to be one of the key elements for making it a successful venture.

  4. I once heard collaboration defined as – “bringing together diverse experiences for extraordinary outcomes”.

    That seems to sum it up well.

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