A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.Thought leaders are commonly asked to speak at public events, conferences or webinars to share their insight with a relevant audience. The Oxford English Dictionary gives as its first citation for the phrase an 1887 description of Henry Ward Beecher as "one of the great thought-leaders in America." The term had earlier (1876) been applied to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was said to manifest "the wizard power of a thought-leader."
In a 1990 article in the Wall Street Journal Marketing section, Patrick Reilly used the term "thought leader publications" to refer to such magazines as Harper's .In the previous decade the term was revived and reengineered by marketers to emphasize an intangible quality of products and brands.
The term is sometimes used to characterize leaders of service clubs, officers of veterans' organizations, of civic organizations, of women's clubs, lodges, regional officials and insurance executives.
Despite being conceived as a laudatory description, the idea of thought leadership is seen to be inherently contradictory. Since the Enlightenment thinking has been taken to an autonomous activity, relying on logic and not on external authority. Max Weber noted in his studies on vocation that scholars and experts are not necessarily good leaders.Recently (2017) political scientist Daniel W. Drezner contrasted the thought leader to the public intellectual. According to his view intellectuals cultivate opposing views and ambiguities while thought leaders "develop their own singular lens to explain the world, and then proselytize that worldview to anyone within earshot".
In business and marketing 'thought leadership' usually refers to a potentially winning strategy. It is seen as a way of increasing or creating demand for a product or service. High tech firms often publish white papers with analyses of the economic benefits of their products as a form of marketing. These are distinct from technical white papers. Consulting firms frequently publish house reports, e.g. The McKinsey Quarterly,A.T. Kearney Executive Agenda, Strategy&'s Strategy and Business, or Deloitte Review where they publish the results of research, new management models and examples of the use of consulting methodologies.
Specialist agencies now exist to help corporate clients create evidence-based thought leadership, such as delineate, Longitude.and others. In addition, major publishing brands also offer similar services, such as the EIU, Forbes and Wall Street Journal.
The phrase "thought leader" is identified by some writers as an annoying example of business jargon,and appeared in Forbes magazine's 2013 annual "tournament" of "corporate America’s most insufferable" business buzzwords and clichés. Kevin Money and Nuno Da Camara of the John Madejski Centre for Reputation at the University of Reading's Henley Management College write that the nebulous nature of the phrase (the unclear nature of "what is and what is not thought leadership") contributes to its reputation among cynics as "meaningless management speak." Some writers, such as Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark, have defended the phrase, while agreeing "that it is very icky when people call themselves thought leaders because that sounds a little bit egomaniacal."
New York Times columnist David Brooks mocked the lifecycle of the role in a satirical column entitled "The Thought Leader," published in December 2013.
A parody on the term was published in 2016 of Chris Kelly on Canadian television's This is That program. In the process of the discussion, imitating TED talks, Kelly elicits responses from the audience that exemplify the effect he describes as the result of applying well-known marketing techniques to achieve the impression of being an erudite speaker.
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Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The context is usually a particular occupation, but any ingroup can have jargon. The main trait that distinguishes jargon from the rest of a language is special vocabulary—including some words specific to it, and often different senses or meanings of words, that outgroups would tend to take in another sense—therefore misunderstanding that communication attempt. Jargon is sometimes understood as a form of technical slang and then distinguished from the official terminology used in a particular field of activity.
A buzzword is a word or phrase, new or already existing, that becomes very popular for a period of time. Buzzwords often derive from technical terms yet often have much of the original technical meaning removed through fashionable use, being simply used to impress others; although such "buzzwords" may still have the full meaning when used in certain technical contexts. Buzzwords often originate in jargon, acronyms, or neologisms. Examples of overworked business buzzwords include synergy, vertical, dynamic, cyber and strategy; a common buzzword phrase is "think outside the box".
Management consulting is the practice of helping organizations to improve their performance. Organizations may draw upon the services of management consultants for a number of reasons, including gaining external advice and access to the consultants' specialized expertise.
In the technology industry, buzzword compliant is a tongue-in-cheek expression used to suggest that a particular product supports features simply because they are currently fashionable. Examples include:
Kearney is an American global management consulting firm that focuses on strategic and operational CEO-agenda issues facing businesses, governments and institutions around the globe. Kearney maintains offices in more than 40 countries globally, and according to Glassdoor, it is the highest-paying company for employees in the United States as of April 2017.
The Indian School of Business (ISB) is a private business school established in India in 2001. It has two campuses in Hyderabad (Telangana), and in Mohali (Punjab). It offers certificates in various post-graduate management programs.
In Search of Excellence is a book written by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.. First published in 1982, it sold 3 million copies in its first four years, and being the most widely held monograph in the United States from 1989 to 2006.
Topple rate is measure of how quickly the leadership companies in a particular industry changes. It is defined as the probability that a firm in the industry, already in the top 20% in revenue, will drop out of this revenue leadership position within the next five years. The topple rate is one method of measuring overall competition in a particular industry; higher topple rates are often viewed as indicating a strong market with healthy economic activity. The term's invention is credited to McKinsey consultant Patrick Viguerie.
David Meerman Scott is an American online marketing strategist and author of several books on marketing, including The New Rules of Marketing and PR.
The publication strategy+business is a business magazine focusing on management issues and corporate strategy. Headquartered in New York, it is published by certain member firms of the PricewaterhouseCoopers network. Prior to the separation of Booz & Company from Booz Allen Hamilton in 2008, strategy+business was published by Booz Allen Hamilton, which launched the magazine, then titled Strategy & Business, in 1995. Full issues of strategy+business appear in print and digital edition form on a quarterly basis, and other original material is published daily on its website.
Brian Solis is a digital analyst, speaker and author. He is a principal analyst studying disruptive technology and its impact on business at Altimeter Group, a research firm acquired by global brand management consultancy Prophet in 2015. Solis publishes annual industry reports that track technology and business trends and offer change management direction to companies. The author of several books discussing digital marketing, evolving business models, customer experience and brand innovation, Solis shares his research and insights as a frequent keynote speaker at technology, business and creativity events. His work is credited with influencing the early digital and social marketing landscape. Most notably, he is known for developing the Conversation Prism, “a visual map of the social media landscape,” in 2008 and revising/re-releasing it again in 2013.
John Hagel is a management consultant and author who specializes in helping executives to anticipate and address emerging business opportunities and challenges.
RingCentral is a publicly traded provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions for businesses. The company is considered the leader in Unified Communications as a Service in terms of revenue and subscriber seats.
In 2011 Euvin Naidoo was selected by Forbes onto their Top 10 most Powerful and Influential Men under Forty in Africa list. He is currently a banking executive in Johannesburg, South Africa. A graduate of the Harvard Business School (HBS), Euvin Naidoo is also an alumnus of global international management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., having started his career at the Firm in the 1990s with a focus on growth strategies, turnarounds and engagements in Africa within financial services (banking/insurance), telecommunications, metals & mining and airlines/transport.
Corporate jargon, variously known as corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak, business jargon, management speak, workplace jargon, corporatese or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporations, bureaucracies, and similar workplaces. The use of corporate jargon is criticised for its lack of clarity as well as for its tedium, making meaning and intention opaque and understanding difficult. It is also criticized for not only enabling delusional thoughts, but allowing them to be seen as an asset in the workplace.
Smarter Planet is a corporate initiative of the information technology company IBM. The initiative seeks to highlight how forward-thinking leaders in business, government, and civil society around the world are capturing the potential of smarter systems to achieve economic growth, near-term efficiency, sustainable development and societal progress.,
Pankaj Ghemawat is an Indian-American economist, professor, global strategist, speaker and author known for his work in the study of globalization. He created the DHL Global Connectedness Index and the CAGE Distance Framework.
John Gerzema is an American CEO and columnist who focuses on social sciences and the impact of leadership ethics and corporate culture on consumer behavior and financial performance. He has a particular focus on female leadership traits and competencies in modern-day leadership. He is CEO of Harris Insights & Analytics, one of the world's leading public opinion, market research and strategy firms known widely for The Harris Poll. Previously, he was chairman and CEO of WPP Group's BAV Consulting, overseeing the BrandAsset Valuator, a consumer and brand survey. He was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Behavior 2014 by Trust Across America. and was one of Forbes’ Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter 2014.
Punit Renjen is an Indian-American businessman who has been chief executive officer of the multinational professional services firm Deloitte since June 1, 2015. Previously, Renjen was chairman and CEO of Deloitte Consulting LLP, and later, held the role of chairman of Deloitte LLP from 2011 to 2015.