Last night I attended the Thinkers 50 Awards: a remarkable event hosted in a remarkable location – Drapers Hall, London. Given that some of the world’s top thinkers were present I wondered why the organisers chose this location for their equivalent of the Oscars? The original Drapers’ Hall, on this site, was purchased from Henry VIII for the Drapers’ Company in 1543. One of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London, this is essentially a trade organisation, with its roots in the Drapery trade, which dates back to 1438.
Fast-forward six centuries to Drapers’ Hall in 2013, in the company of the Thinkers 50 association, founded in 2001, I began to see the synergy of these two, worthy organisations. Both focus their efforts on thinking about business and developing creative ideas on how to manage business more intelligently. Where better to celebrate the best of global thinking, than in the elegant setting that is Drapers Hall.?
It was a great privilege to be amongst some of the world’s great thinkers, representing global educational institutions such as Harvard, INSEAD, London Business School and MIT. The evening gave me a valuable insight into the conversations that went on during the day leading up this the dinner. This ranged from discussing the future of business education, what tomorrow looks like, innovation, capitalism, work and sustainability. It was remarkable to hear about the work of those shortlisted for each of the awards and that of the ultimate winners.
The overall winner Clay Christensen gave a humble, thoughtful and emotionally charged acceptance speech. He used the Huguenots as a metaphor, which was entirely appropriate, given the historic venue. . Having tugged at the heart strings of many in the audience, I noticed quite a number of people reaching for their tissues. It made me stop to think…