Prof. Yves Pigneur and Alex Osterwalder among the top 10 best thinkers in management
Yves Pigneur, professor in the Faculty of Business and Economics at UNIL and Alex Osterwalder, holder of a doctorate from HEC Lausanne and CEO of Strategyzer, were named as two of the top 10 best thinkers in management on Monday 13 November 2017, by the highly renowned Thinkers50 ranking. The award recognizes the work of the two inventors of the Business Model Canvas, a business model that has achieved worldwide success over many years.
Yves Pigneur and Alex Osterwalder came in 7th place in the biannual Thinkers50 ranking, also known as the “Management Oscars” by leading financial newspapers, such as the Financial Times. They were officially named at a ceremony in London on Monday 13 November, which brought together several hundred management experts who had come to meet the 50 leading figures who received the awards, including Michael Porter and Clayton Christensen, both professors at Harvard.
An interview with Prof. Pigneur, who comments on the award and offers a few tips for a successful business:
In 2015, you were ranked in 15th place, together with Alex Osterwalder. Did you expect to make the top 10 this year?
We were hoping to stay where we were two years ago, in 15th place, but we really didn’t expect to get into the top 10, by being ranked 7th. It was a wonderful surprise! We are happy to see that our work is recognized, of course, but even more so to know that:
- our research has an impact on practitioners and in the business world,
- our ideas are widely shared,
- our tools (the Business Model Canvas and others) are becoming increasingly widespread.
In one of your recent speeches, you said “No business tool will ever replace human creativity and passion”: can you explain what you meant?
We share the view of architect Richard Buckminster Fuller, who said, “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.” Alex Osterwalder and I are both convinced that a good management tool can help entrepreneurs and business to come up with new ways of working. Widespread use of our Business Model Canvas has shown that it is a better option than the business plan, for example, when it comes to innovating and creating a new business. But a tool is only a tool. It’s how you use it that makes the difference. As an analogy, if you are an amateur musician and someone puts a Stradivarius in your hands, you will still be an amateur – but if you are a virtuoso, it can make all the difference!
Now, in the time of the 4th industrial revolution, robotization and artificial intelligence, is it your view that creativity and passion are the two key qualities?
Creativity and passion have always been two driving forces in innovation but I think that “it takes a bit of everything to make a world”, i.e. people who excel in implementation, optimization and day-to-day management, and others who thrive in a world of invention, imagination and entrepreneurship.
par Myriam Bango (Faculté des HEC)