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Vijay Govindarajan Inducted into Thinkers50 Hall of Fame

Tuck professor and strategist Vijay Govindarajan received the 2019 Thinkers50 Distinguished Innovation Award and was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame for his life-long work dedicated to the field of management, strategy, and innovation.

Vijay Govindarajan, the Coxe Distinguished Professor of Management, has received the 2019 Thinkers50 Distinguished Innovation Award and has been named to the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame. The innovation award is given to thinkers who have significantly influenced the world’s understanding of innovation in the past two years. To gain induction into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame, an honoree’s work must have made a profound impact on the field of management and how it is practiced globally. 

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award,” Govindarajan says. “To be recognized alongside such an impressive group of distinguished nominees and to see my work celebrated at this level is profoundly gratifying and inspiring. This award is especially meaningful to me because I strive to produce ideas in my work that directly impact the practice of management.” 

Govindarajan, who for over 40 years has been researching, consulting, and teaching on innovation and strategy, is the only thinker who has won the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Awards in two different categories: both the Breakthrough Idea Award in 2011 and the Innovation Award in 2019.

Govindarajan is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation. His well-known three-box solution, a theory of strategic management, provides an easy-to-understand, three-box framework for business leaders who wish to hone their innovation skills. Says Govindarajan of his three-box solution, “The exercise has to start with imagining the future and then deciding whether things you are doing today are relevant and discarding those that aren’t.”

During his career, Govindarajan worked closely with General Electric, serving as the company's first professor-in-residence and chief innovation consultant. Govindarajan has received over a dozen awards, including the McKinsey Award for the Best Article in Harvard Business Review (2015, 2010), and the 2015 Carl S. Sloane Award from The Association of Management Consulting Firms.

The exercise has to start with imagining the future and then deciding whether things you are doing today are relevant and discarding those that aren’t.

Govindarajan is also a Strategic Management Society Fellow, which recognizes scholarship for a body of work. He has published a number of best-selling books including The Three Box Solution (2016), Beyond the Idea (2014), and Reverse Innovation (2012). Collectively, he has published more than 40 articles in top-tier academic and practitioner journals. More information on his research, including his thinking on the three-box solution, can be found here in a video series put together by Thinkers50.

Also honored was Geoffrey Parker, faculty director of Dartmouth’s Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program and a faculty member in Tuck’s Advanced Management Program, who received the Thinkers50 Digital Thinking Award with Marshall Van Alstyne of Boston University. The award is given to thinkers who provide guidance on how businesses can thrive in the era of platform technology. The award “celebrates the thinker who has done the most to convert the digital language of the 0 and 1 into useful human insights,” according to the organization’s website. Both Parker and Van Alstyne have written extensively about digital platforms and the ways in which they are transforming businesses.

The organization’s biennial global ranking of management thinkers also honored Richard D’Aveni, the Bakala Professor of Strategy, who was shortlisted for the 2019 Breakthrough Idea Award for his book The Pan-Industrial Revolution, as well as Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management.

More information on the Thinkers50 awards and a full list of winners can be found here.