TIMES BUSINESS | TIMES MANAGING SPECIAL
2007 THINKERS 50
In association with Suntop Media, TOI exclusively brings you the findings of this year’s Thinkers 50 rankings. For the first time in the history of this annual ranking of management thinkers, an Indian—C K Prahalad—has been named the most influential management thinker alive. How have the others fared? Whose ideas are in vogue today? Who has dropped off the charts? Read on…
THE MANAGEMENT THINKERS’
Des Dearlove & Stuart Crainer
ho is the world’s most influential living management thinker? That was the simple question that inspired the original Thinkers 50 in 2001. The result was the first ever global ranking of business gurus. The all-new Thinkers 50 2007 (www.thinkers50.com) is the most comprehensive and fascinating ranking yet. Produced by Suntop Media, in association with Skillsoft, it is the definitive bi-annual guide to which thinkers and ideas are in—and which are past their corporate ‘sell by’ date. Which business books the aspiring corporate careerist should display on their bookshelves, and which can be safely discarded. So what do the 2007 rankings show? Who are the most influential management thinkers in an increasingly global business world? And who, among them, is the No 1? In 2005, Harvard heavyweight Michael Porter inherited the crown from the late great Peter Drucker. But would he keep his place at the top in this year’s Thinkers 50? Now we know. GURU AT THE TOP OF THE PYRAMID The most influential living management guru in the world is C K Prahalad. Prahalad is the first Indianborn thinker to claim the title. Best known for his work with Gary Hamel (ranked 5th) on resourcebased strategy which gave rise to the , term ‘core competences’, more recently, Prahalad has turned his attention to the plight of the world’s poor. In The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, his 2004 book, he argues that capitalism can be the engine to eradicate poverty . “If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden, and start recognizing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs, a whole new world of opportunity will open up,” he explains. PEARLY GATES In second place is another man who wants to change the world—Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Once vilified by IT purists, Gates’ stature as a technology pioneer is enhanced by his philanthropic work. The billions of dollars he has invested to help eradicate malaria and promote education have enabled him to retain the No 2 slot he claimed in 2005. Third place goes to former head of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, whose book, The Age of Turbulence, strikes a chord with businesspeople around the world. The high priest of turbulence lurch-
ASSEMBLING THE 50
HALL OF FAME
Deconstructing the man of many ideas
Who is the most influential living management thinker? Over the last two years, visitors to the Thinkers 50 website (www.thinkers50.com) have been providing their answers. The site had 84,000 unique visitors, with 33,723 adding it to their favourites list. After sifting through more than 3,500 votes a list of contenders was compiled. The result was a short-list of 100 names. These names were then assessed against 10 criteria. Each guru was marked against the following criteria on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high): .
THE MEASURES: Originality of ideas, impact of ideas, presentation style, written communication, loyalty of followers, business sense, international outlook, rigor of research, accessibility, guru factor TOP 10 IN THE LIST* 1. C K Prahalad (3) 2. Bill Gates (2) 3. Alan Greenspan (35) 4. Michael Porter (1) 5. Gary Hamel (14) 6. W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne (15) 7. Tom Peters (4) 8. Jack Welch (5) 9. Richard Branson (11) 10. Jim Collins (6) Bhagvan Das
oimbatore Krishnao— CK—Prahalad was born in the town of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. He studied physics at the University of Madras (now Chenai). He worked as...