A major event in man­age­ment is com­ing, and it only hap­pens every two years. On 11 Novem­ber 2013, the Thinkers50 list [link] — a “who’s who” of cut­ting-edge thinkers in all major fields of man­age­ment — will be announced.

Stu­art Crain­er and Des Dearlove [link] devel­oped the awards. They are notable thinkers as well, with a list of arti­cles, books and videos that cov­er many dimen­sions of the man­age­ment world. Crain­er and Dearlove cre­at­ed the Thinkers50 con­cept in 2001. What was their moti­va­tion? They explain their think­ing on its website:

When it was launched in 2001, the Thinkers50 was the first-ever glob­al rank­ing of man­age­ment thinkers. It has been pub­lished every two years since.

In the inter­ven­ing decade, the scope of the Thinkers50 has broad­ened to include a range of activ­i­ties that sup­port its mis­sion of iden­ti­fy­ing and shar­ing the best man­age­ment think­ing in the world.

That mis­sion is based on three core beliefs: (1) Ideas have the pow­er to change the world, (2) Man­age­ment is essen­tial to human affairs, and (3) New think­ing can cre­ate a bet­ter future.

The Thinkers50 Rank­ing remains the pre­mier rank­ing of its kind, and the Thinkers50 Awards (intro­duced in 2011) are wide­ly regard­ed as the “Oscars of man­age­ment thinking”.

The 2013 awards event will be held at Draper’s Hall in Lon­don. The are real­ly two events: a day­long series of ses­sions that dis­cuss the future of busi­ness edu­ca­tion and what will be con­sid­ered cut­ting-edge ideas tomor­row. As of today, one can still buy tick­ets to attend that event, and it is sure to be a won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with a dis­tin­guished and provoca­tive audi­ence [link].

The sec­ond event, at night, [link] is already sold out, and this is when awards will be announced in the fields of strat­e­gy, lead­er­ship, inno­va­tion, glob­al solu­tions, break­through think­ing and future think­ing [see all award cat­e­gories]. The Thinkers50 Award to the per­son who most changed the way peo­ple think will also be announced. There is a pub­lished list of all the awards giv­en since 2001 [link], but it is impor­tant to note that award deci­sions are a process. As the web­site says, Novem­ber 11 is “the cul­mi­na­tion of a two-year Thinkers50 cam­paign to iden­ti­fy the very best new man­age­ment thinking”.

That cam­paign involves an incred­i­ble num­ber of dis­cus­sions that Crain­er and Dearlove have with fel­low thinkers, busi­ness exec­u­tives, pro­fes­sors, stu­dents and jour­nal­ists. Beyond that, peo­ple can vote for the thinker they most admire. Vot­ing for 2013 is closed, and now the sus­pense is build­ing. More about how Thinkers50 oper­ates can be found on the FAQ page [link].

Thinkers50 has a num­ber of top-flight spon­sors, includ­ing IE Busi­ness School (with which I am affil­i­at­ed) [link]. And the con­cept is evolv­ing; for exam­ple, there are now apps relat­ed to some of the thinkers on Apple [link].

Writ­ing this month in Forbes [link], Mike Myatt (him­self a nom­i­nee for an award) gives an objec­tive assess­ment of how far Thinkers50 has come, its impact and its impor­tance. Myatt says, “These obvi­ous dis­claimers aside, I believe the Thinkers50 to be the gold stan­dard of cred­i­bil­i­ty and accom­plish­ment in the field of lead­er­ship and management.”

Back in 2001, I doubt that Stu­art Crain­er and Des Dearlove could have envi­sioned the enor­mi­ty of their con­tri­bu­tion to the field of man­age­ment. In many ways, what they have done is giv­en the pro­fes­sion of man­age­ment a unique chance to look at itself.

Harvard’s Clay­ton Chris­tensen [link] was named the most influ­en­tial thinker for 2011, and a short­list has been pub­lished of all the final­ists for awards in 2013 [link].

In his 2011 accep­tance speech [link], Chris­tensen talks about the impor­tance of look­ing at one­self and keep­ing a vig­i­lant focus on the impor­tance of think­ing about how you (and your organ­i­sa­tion) need to evolve. When the Thinkers50 awards are announced on 11 Novem­ber, it will be a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn a great deal about the state of man­age­ment think­ing now and in the future.

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