In many layers of our society, we are in a transition phase. Rapid developments in technology have changed our whole way of communicating and collaborating; they have also paved the way for co-creation and new ways to innovate. Societal issues such as climate change, rising healthcare costs, energy efficiency and cyber security have risen higher on the global political agenda and people are, now more than ever, on the look-out for refreshing viewpoints. Organizations are expected to play a progressive and stimulating role in these changes.

In the face of this growing need for refreshing viewpoints, thought leadership offers companies an opportunity to raise their profiles, strengthen their positioning and to be a positive, shaping force in market and societal discussions.

IBM does this with its “systems” point of view, in which it triggers its customers to reframe the way they look at the themes important to them (e.g., energy efficiency, water management, urbanization), helping them to discover better insights and solutions. The personal care brand Dove has been doing this with its Self Esteem Campaign in which it seeks to overturn society’s narrow definition of beauty. Philips does this by providing refreshing viewpoints on the themes “livable cities” and active “aging”. These companies do not just articulate their novel points of view, they continuously take meaningful actions to back up their viewpoints.


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