Thought Leadership

Definition from Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia

A Thought leader is a buzzword or article of jargon used to describe a futurist or person who is recognized among their peers and mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights (thinklets).

Thought leadership is an increasingly vital driver of business success. Its aim is to engage people with companies through innovative ideas. The term was first 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, Stanford economist Paul Romer, Mitsubishi president, Minoru Makihara, and University of Michigan strategist, C.K. Prahalad and his co-author, Gary Hamel, a professor at the London Business School. 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.

At professional services firms, such as consultancies and accounting firms, thought leadership involves the quest to discover new innovative ideas to engage in a discussion with clients.

This term can also be applied to an applied research Center of Excellence, or company - often a small business that integrates professional ethics with highly-effective leadership development. [1]

According to commentators such as Elise Bauer, a distinguishing characteristic of a thought leader is "the recognition from the outside world that the company deeply understands its business, the needs of its customers, and the broader marketplace in which it operates." [2]

Leadership is deliberately causing people-driven actions in a planned way to accomplish the leaders agenda. Phil Cosby [3]

Some visions of thought leaders are "to fuel the evolution of leaders who choose to contribute to sustaining life (body, mind and spirit) in ourselves, our organizations, and our communities". With the belief "that leadership development is rooted in personal development & organizational transformation is rooted in individual transformation. [4]

Thought leadership is also an emerging discipline in its own right. Our ability to understand its core practices, then to effectively apply them, are the keys to positioning ourselves and our companies for next level growth. [5]



"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited to the things we know and understand, but imagination embraces the entire world and everything there will ever be to know and understand."

Albert Einstein


"The true delight is in the finding out, rather than in the knowing."

Isaac Asimov


"The way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas."

Linus Pauling


"Every organization needs one core competance: innovation."

Peter Drucker

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