Leonardo Award

Leonardo Thought Leadership: Inspiring potential imitators

Prof. Dorothy A. Leonard

Challenge tendencies and popular trends to perpetuate unhealthy habits in the boardroom and the factory floor alike

The Leonardo category “Thought Leadership” focuses on contributions which are of great intellectual value and help us to understand how we are “learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be” (in reference to the UNESCO´s four pillars of learning in the 21st century). It is about challenging us in our prevailing assumptions, and encourages us to not hide away from fundamentally new assessments and conclusions if urged on by ever changing circumstances. In this respect, the practical value is even more important.

Dorothy A. Leonard does not only proclaim a holistic approach but she actually lives it in a way that truly touches the mind and soul.

Sober field studies with most important empirical findings are accompanied by extraordinary interdisciplinary research and in-depth analysis. As she is reluctant to reinforce popular trends, she challenges tendencies to perpetuate unhealthy habits in the boardroom and the factory floor alike, thus reminding us all that core capabilities can easily turn into core rigidities.

Her sound advice is warmly welcomed by start-ups and prominent corporations, by political decision makers and fellow researchers. Her strong influence is exerted in a gentle, often humble style. The people she wishes to reach are invited by her to undertake a fascinating intellectual and practical journey, addressing them not just in their fields of expertise but as personalities that are aware of their civic and personal responsibilities and interdependencies. The facts and figures of departmental processes in her inspiring books are therefore no contradiction to the explanations of misjudgment by political institutions. She always leads by example and takes a stand. “When sparks fly: igniting creativity in groups”, “Wellsprings of Knowledge: Building and Sustaining the Sources of Innovation” and “Deep smarts: how to cultivate and transfer enduring business wisdom” – these books, among others, give proof of her thought leadership and embody what we call the “Leonardo spirit”.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Dorothy A. Leonard