Thought Leadership

In today’s world, strongly positioned organisations not only communicate in crystal-clear terms about their 'whys’, but also about their views on relevant economic and social themes. They communicate innovative and often unconventional points of view. Van Halderen refers to these innovative views as ‘Novel Points of View’ that encourage customers or other stakeholders to think about relevant themes in different terms. Using these ‘novel points of view’, they overturn the existing, often ingrained notions that exist in the economy or society. They believe in change, innovation and improvement.

One good example is Apple, a company that completely transformed our definition of and experience with computers, music players and mobile telephones. Another one is Unilever, which goes beyond the traditional concept of corporate social responsibility by showing that profitability and sustainability can and must reinforce rather than contradict one another. These organisations don’t only think and act differently, they also communicate in a different way. They are successful in imbuing their Novel Points of View with the power of imagination. In doing so, they encourage customers and stakeholders to look at relevant themes in a different way, and to assign an innovative, refreshing significance to them. They also translate their innovative ideas into behaviour. Organisations like these reform the way we act and think, and are therefore viewed as being thought leaders.

How do these organisations do this? How do they develop their Novel Points of View? How do they convince stakeholders of the relevance and significance of these views for our economy and society? How do they incorporate their points of view into their daily business operations? The professorship attempts to provide insight into these questions.

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