2020 has thrown a wrench into almost everyone’s plans. It’s been hard to gain momentum in a year full of so many concerns and setbacks. The new year will be a welcome restart after 12 tumultuous months.
If you’re trying to regain your footing, or want to set some ambitious goals for 2021, take your cue from the world’s most innovative CEOs and business minds. These dynamic leaders are poised for a great year, and you can join them for the ride.
How We Found These Innovative Leaders
Innovative leaders don’t just announce themselves. Many of them work quietly, building next-generation companies and products without a lot of media attention.
So how did we find them? In a few ways:
Word of mouth
When people do extraordinary things, word gets around. We checked in with members of our networks to find out: Who’s innovating like nobody else? Who’s going above and beyond creatively, technically, or financially?
Innovators get written about. We took a look around online to see what our favorite publications had to say. In sites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Inc., these leaders are getting a lot of attention.
Social media is the new town square. We pored over Twitter trends, Facebook groups, and Instagram galleries to get the skinny on which business leaders are making a real difference.
Metrics like CAGR and market capitalization speak volumes about a business leader’s acumen. More innovative leaders grow companies faster, larger, and more sustainably than their peers.
To be sure, we spotted a lot of innovative leaders. But to us, the following 10 stood out.
Innovative Leaders Overview
From Fortune 500 CEOs to up-and-comers, there are 10 industry leaders I’m keeping an eye on. These individuals are constantly looking for ways to improve their companies, their communities, and the people around them:
1. Jeff Wong
A technology aficionado who is shaking up professional services
2. Stephen Dalby
A concerned — and creative — father who saw a huge parental problem and solved it
3. Tracy Grace
A second-generation entrepreneur and diversity champion who heads a fast-growing IT consulting firm
4. Brent Shafer
An innovative business modeler who is working to transform the American healthcare industry
5. Ritch Wood
An innovative mind in customer service and beauty products
6. William Richards
A web-based systems guru who created the world’s leading URL redirection service
7. Safra Catz
An acquisitions master who is leading Oracle into its next decade
8. Zach Ferres
A tech entrepreneur who helps companies achieve digital transformation
9. Mary Barra
A trailblazer in the male-dominated automotive industry
10. Asheesh Mani Jain
A marketing mastermind whose creativity is matched only by his generosity