May 16, 2012 · Leave a comment
Industry Insights from Paul Meade, M. Sc, MPH
Everyone seems to have a definition of what a thought leader, or key opinion leader, or external expert is. These honorifics are routinely bestowed upon the most revered people in our society.
Most industries—not just healthcare—have thought leaders, but not everyone views them in the same way. Are they thought-provoking? Are they influential? Do they challenge conventions and change standards? Are they truly leaders in their area of expertise? Do they have large social networks? Are they popular and well-known? Are they amazingly brilliant and have a superior intellect? These are many of the questions people ask themselves when determining someone’s thought leadership.
It would appear then, that the definition of a thought leader is in the eye of the beholder, something akin to art or beauty. We certainly cannot get to the answer by parsing the two words. This would mean any leader with a thought would qualify! Furthermore, we have been struggling to define leadership for about 10,000 years now, with still no definitive definition in sight.
To focus on a single industry, such as healthcare, might help with deriving a workable definition. Yet, even in healthcare, new definitions are cropping up all the time, perhaps even more definitions than in other industry sectors. The traditional or classical definition of a thought leader has ... read more »