Top 100 Thought Leaders and Influencers to follow in 2020

Karl Smith Top 100 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers to Follow in 2020

Karl Smith named in the The Awards Magazine, Top 100 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers to Follow in 2020. Well let’s step back a bit from that, I mean it’s wonderful sounding but what does it actually mean and does it matter at all?

What are Thought Leaders and Influencers

When I first came across the concept of Thought Leadership and Influence I had though it related to teenagers giving makeup tips for free products or pseudo celebrities from the reality TV areas endorsing products to make a living. Since neither area interested me in the slightest I was surprised that such a thing existed in relation to consulting services or technology and devices like mobile phones and personal computing. So in my normal response to new ideas I investigated it and found that Thought Leadership has been around for a very long time in pharmaceuticals where published and known doctors let their peers know about new products.

Elihu Katz in answers the question, “Who is an opinion leader?” One or more of these factors make noteworthy opinion leaders:

  • expression of values
  • professional competence
  • nature of their social network

The Influencer aspect is certainly newish but can also really be focused back to news media and the editorial format that is followed and represents the readers preference. As I have been blogging since 2001 and writing since 1989 about my work I appear to be such a person from what I have already done and continue to do today. My main blog https://karlsmith.info/ garners around 4,500,000 readers a year, when I first started it was mainly academic institutions in the USA and from the analytics it was clear that my free materials were being used to supplement several major University courses on Computer Human-Interaction and what UX was called in those days in the US Information Architecture.

Recognition is this really real?

Recognition is an interesting thing, I am aware that there is a huge business in buying recognition. I have lost count of the offers for my company to be featured in a Top100 listing, or for me to get a profile or be a judge at some award or another for $3000 fees. The answer I always give is no thanks, if something I’m doing or saying has merit then people will talk about it or write about it. I do the same, I don’t write for a fee or pay for content, everything I write is original content based upon my vision, inventions, innovations and consultancy experiences.

This recognition by The Awards Magazine was not expected, unknown and nothing I signed up for. For me it means that messages I’m sharing are having impact, in a world of fake news, fake knowledge and stolen knowledge is quite common, but thankfully my vision and knowledge still seems to have value. Similarly the Onalytica mention was totally unexpected but also completely accurate in terms of my active engagement in the founding of #IoT and it next states in the #FutureofWork. I’m not writing about the state of work, I’m a design engineer who worked on the first true ubiquity project in the 1990’s and has taken that knowledge into creating UbiNET Inc. I think these kinds of capacity to shift from Management Consultancy to HighTech Engineering or into Design and the Humanities confuses a lot of people who don’t or can’t. The point is I have always considered it normal to become and expert across many professional and academic skills only recently have I come across the term #polymath but it fits and will do for now.

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Recognition in social media is something that can be assessed so valuable recognition is given based on impact not requested. Onalytica has recently changed its way of calculating who influencers are by no longer relying on followers, its an evolution that has brought me in to the listings.

These Who’s Who reports are created using the Onalytica platform which has a curated database of over 1 million influencers. Our platform allows you to discover, validate and categorise influencers quickly and easily via keyword searches. The lists are made using carefully created Boolean queries which then rank influencers by resonance, relevance, reach and reference, meaning influencers are not only ranked by themselves, but also by how much other influencers are referring to them. The lists are then validated, and filters are used to split the influencers up into the categories that are seen in the list.

Why do Thought Leaders and Influencers matter?

As, what work is, changes, so does how we acquire knowledge how we engage and what are our sources of truth. While marketers have believed for a long time they can tell people what to think that is no longer so easy to do as one display route Television is superseded by thousands of routes. When there is no longer a formal and trusted route to information the “people like me” and the “people I recognise” behaviours become the source of truth. The now famous facebook algorithms that mimic these perceptions drive content that Facebook thinks we will like. And shockingly Facebook is often right, people really don’t like to think, they do want an easy life and are giving up their personal freedoms for shared simple experiences. And this is where Thought Leaders and Influencers add the most value as they are clearly not the establishment so may be “people like me” and the “people I recognise”.

Discovering I’m Thought Leader and Influencer

While I was aware through my engagement as a Key Opinion Leader with Huawei Technologies since 2017 as a member of their global programme that my social media had impact with decision makers, I had never looked for recognition. I suppose I had always just focused on creating original content like my Huawei KOL peers. In May 2020 however I found Thinkers360 and thought it would be interesting to upload my content. What I discovered was that I was already a Thought Leader and Influencer but just did not know it. I have found the whole thing to be a nice gamification and a really good way to understand how my materials are viewed by others, so thank you Thinkers360 for giving me that context. I have gained a number of top positions and honourable mentions that really exposes the breadth of my experience to a wider audience.

Some snapshots of Ranking on Thinkers360 Today

Karl Smith ranked 5th overall Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Agile Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Big Data Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Experience Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Loyalty Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Digital Transformation Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith ranked 1st in Predictive Analytic Global Thought Leadership and Influencer

Karl Smith Thought Leader and Influencer Rankings on Thinkers360 10/25/20
Karl Smith Thought Leader and Influencer Rankings on Thinkers360 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 5th overall Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 5th overall Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Agile Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Agile Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Big Data Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Big Data Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Experience Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Experience Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Loyalty Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Customer Loyalty Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Digital Transformation Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Digital Transformation Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Predictive Analytic Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20
Karl Smith ranked 1st in Predictive Analytics Global Thought Leadership and Influencer 10/25/20

If you a an academic, author, speaker or an entrepreneur definitely sign up for the free account you may knock me off my positions, but that’s fine because it makes your insight more accessible to others and that aids humanity.

Why do Thought Leaders and Influencers matter?

As, what work is, changes, so does how we acquire knowledge how we engage and what are our sources of truth. While marketers have believed for a long time they can tell people what to think that is no longer so easy to do as one display route Television is superseded by thousands of routes. When there is no longer a formal and trusted route to information the “people like me” and the “people I recognise” behaviours become the source of truth. The now famous facebook algorithms that mimic these perceptions drive content that Facebook thinks we will like. And shockingly Facebook is often right, people really don’t like to think, they do want an easy life and are giving up their personal freedoms for shared simple experiences. And this is where Thought Leaders and Influencers add the most value as they are clearly not the establishment so may be “people like me” and the “people I recognise”.

Discovering I’m Thought Leader and Influencer

While I was aware through my engagement as a Key Opinion Leader with Huawei Technologies since 2017 as a member of their global programme that my social media had impact with decision makers, I had never looked for recognition. I suppose I had always just focused on creating original content like my Huawei KOL peers. In May 2020 however I found Thinkers360 and thought it would be interesting to upload my content. What I discovered was that I was already a Thought Leader and Influencer but just did not know it. I have found the whole thing to be a nice gamification and a really good way to understand how my materials are viewed by others, so thank you Thinkers360 for giving me that context. I have gained a number of top positions and honourable mentions that really exposes the breadth of my experience to a wider audience.

Thought Leader and Influencer Ethics

I have some very strong ethics around representation of, well really, anything. I believe I have a duty of care for people who read what I write to not mislead them. This may sound counter intuitive for an influencer but

for me just living is not everything, how I live is everything

I can’t represent something as good if I don’t know it is, just like I can’t give a job reference to someone I’ve not directly worked with. I think people have a right to expect truth, regardless of what that means now. The media describes our social media led world as post truth world, although this may be a shock to some people in marketing, I’m not selling the trust my readers have given me.

What I will do however is, when provided early access to information, about products or services that will aid people, then I will write about it. Often I will not write a face on or broadcast article as I’m not here to be a channel, I will compare the offering in market context and historically and bypass regional and economic bias. For example with Huawei I’m happy to still be involved with them, regardless of all the negative hype because I have no empire to protect. I wrote Government as a Service (GaaS), Spying as a Service (SaaS) the United Kingdom exports some unexpected things as a response to the ridiculous arguments about security risks that Huawei’s mobile infrastructure represents, because American politicians are crying WOLF. The real issue here is the American cultural attitude to investment in infrastructure and the fact they have dropped the 5G ball, they think private companies should set it up for the whole country, mainly because they know the government can’t. The USA is a collection of states not a centralised Country not since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal has the central government taken direct responsibility to resolve major infrastructure issues. I think there is an article there!

About Karl Smith

Karl Smith is a globally known founder in Customer Experience, User Experience, Agile, Digital Transformation and Thought Leader and Influencer based on projects delivered with Fortune 500 companies. He has been focused of Customer Experience since the 1980’s, Digital Transformation since the 1990’s and Agile since 2004 to deliver Digital First Thinking and Transformations and Mobile First since 2006. He has only recently discovered his Thought Leadership and Influencer impact but his blogs impact is clear having a readership uninterrupted by advertising. He has a presence on LinkedInTwitterXingBehanceFacebookCrunchbaseHivemindNetwork and many more networks with a focus on a specific audience, to create engagement and to ensure that he learns from others as well as shares his original content about the work he has done, inventions and insights.

Author of Designing for Human Experience

Fundamental to my work in designing for human experience is my early experiences of human augmentation in supporting what the world describes as disability. When I was eight (1970’s) my father was involved in setting up a respite centre for the families of disabled children. It was the first time I’d seen technologies that support people in doing what I take for granted and it changed my perspective on technology and what it means to be human. Looking back, it was clear from an early age that I accepted all people, recognised individuals and gained the realisation that everyone had strengths and limitations. Through my design training at school, college and then university I was able to frame questions about; what does it mean to be human? Ergonomics and Anthropometrics is what started me on questioning why technologies were not measurable against who uses them and their physical, emotional and intelligence limitations. If that’s offensive think about it, everyone has limitations they also have strengths, certainly I have benefited by having to work harder with reading and writing than others through being able to make connections others cannot see. Karl Smith, Designing for Human Experience, Polymath Knowledge, 2020

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