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Thinkers50: three U of T profs among "world-changing" management thinkers

Placing fourth in the world, Adjunct Professor Don Tapscott is one of two U of T management thinkers to make the top 10 list, along with Professor Roger Martin (below) who placed third

A prestigious, bi-annual ranking of the world’s leading “management thinkers” has named three University of Toronto faculty members to its list – with two appearing in the top four.

The U of T is the only Canadian school to appear on the Thinkers50 list, which honours “thinkers whose ideas have shaken up the world of management thinking and have practically and inspirationally challenged managers to change their worlds.”

The three are: Professor Roger Martin, Adjunct Professor Don Tapscott and Professor Richard Florida of U of T’s Rotman School of Management and Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI). Thinkers50, which calls itself "the Oscars of management thinking," made the announcement at a gala dinner in London on November 11.

Martin (pictured right), the former dean of the Rotman School and current academic director of its MPI, placed third on the list, up from sixth place in 2011. Martin is best known for his work on integrative thinking as a means of solving complex problems. 

Martin also received the Thinkers50 Book Award for his last book, co-authored by AG Lafley, Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works, published by Harvard Business Review Press, earlier this year. The award was given to the book which had made the most outstanding contribution to management thinking over the last two years

Tapscott, who is also a fellow at the MPI, placed fourth on the list, up from ninth in 2011. He is considered to be a leading authority on innovation, media, globalization and the economic and social impact of technology on business and society.

Tapscott also received the Thinkers50 Global Solutions Award for the most significant work done in the world over the last two years about how to solve global problems. He is currently working on the Global Solution Networks program – an investigation into new models for global governance, cooperation and problem solving.

Florida, (pictured right) a director at the MPI, made his debut on the Thinkers 50 list, placing 25th. He is globally recognized for his leading work on the creative class, innovation and the drivers of city prosperity.

For the second consecutive ranking, Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School, the originator of the theory of disruptive innovation, placed first.

This year’s ranking was notable for the increasing number of women represented on the list as well as diversity of countries represented. Canada punched well above its demographic weight. In addition to Martin, Tapscott and Florida, Canadian Syd Finkelstein, a professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, made the list for the first time.

“Interesting times demand interesting ideas,” said Thinkers50 creators Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove. “There is a real sense that how we view business and how business is practised is changing. The ideas of the people featured in the Thinkers50 make a difference on the factory floor and in the boardrooms of the world. In business, ideas matter because they can be the difference between success and failure.”

Ken McGuffin is a writer with the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.