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Ones To Watch

ones to watch

Our work at the Creative Executive is to track down some of the best and brightest minds in creativity and leadership. As part of our summer roundup, we’ve also made a list of some individuals we love – trailblazers we are following that make us think, act, and innovate.

Love our picks? Check out our custom curated Twitter List with over 60 names and publications we recommend!

changing behaviors

Time Management:

Maura Thomas is a 20-year veteran of personal productivity, she is founder and chief trainer of RegainYourTime.com and creator of the Empowered Productivity™ System, a process for managing the details of life and work. As a speaker and trainer, Maura helps individuals, organizations and corporations maximize their communications tools, defend their attention and achieve their significant results.


Dr. Heidi Halverson is a social psychologist who researches, writes, and speaks about the science of motivation.  She is the Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School, and author of the best-selling books: Succeed: How We Can All Reach Our GoalsNine Things Successful People Do Differently, Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World for Success and Influence (co-written with E. Tory Higgins), and The 8 Motivational Challenges.

Daniel Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about the changing world of work, including Drive and To Sell is Human. His thought leadership is social psychology meets the workforce, revealing powerful insights on what motivates teams and people.

leadership development


Adam Bryant is the Corner Office columnist at the New York Times and the author of Quick & Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation. He focuses on the true role of the CEO–to lead and manage, build a team, create a sense of mission and foster a high-performing culture.

Simon Sinek has been described as “a visionary thinker with a rare intellect.” He teaches leaders and organizations how to inspire people. He is the author of two books: the global best seller, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and his newest book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.


Annie Murphy Paul is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. She is the author of The Cult of Personality Testing, a cultural history and scientific critique of personality tests, and of Origins, a book about the science of prenatal influences. She is now at work on Brilliant: The New Science of Smart, to be published by Crown later this year.

Generating Ideas:

Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps creative people and teams generate ideas. His first book, The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice offers strategies for how to thrive in the creative marketplace and has been called “one of the best books to date on how to structure your ideas, and manage the creative process and work that comes out of it.”

David Burkus  is the author The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies Generate Great Ideas. He’s also the founder and host of LDRLB, a podcast that shares insights on leadership, innovation, and strategy.

Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute and a researcher in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the nature, measurement and development of imagination. Kaufman has authored 6 books on creativity and is also a co-founder of The Creativity Post. Additionally, he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for the Scientific American.

creativity + innovation


Sally Hogshead is a creative guru and world-class branding expert that teaches her audience how to fascinate; her books can be found here. Sally discovered a new way to measure how people perceive your communication, and teaches her methodology to help others gain traction in the creative world.

Jonah Berger is the author of the social psychology book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On and an Associate Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies social epidemics, or how products, ideas, and behaviors catch on and become popular. He examines how individual decision making and social dynamics (e.g., social influence) between people generate collective outcomes such as social contagion and trends.


Tom + David Kelley. David Kelley is the founder of IDEO. His most enduring contributions to the field of design are a human-centered methodology and culture of innovation. He has also led the creation of the groundbreaking d.school at Stanford, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Tom Kelley, David’s brother, is the best-selling author of The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation as well as a partner at IDEO. Both recently partnered to write Creative Confidence. The entertaining and inspiring narrative draws on countless stories from their work at IDEO and with many of the world’s top companies, identifying the principles and strategies that help us to tap into our creative potential.

Warren Berger’s book A More Beautiful Question explores the surprising art and science of asking great questions — and how the power of inquiry can spark fresh thinking and breakthrough ideas. His 2009 book Glimmer reveals how innovative design thinking is transforming the way we live.



Brené Brown is a Research Professor at the University of Houston‘s Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Her 2010 TEDx Houston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most popular talks on TED.com, with over 15 million views.

Susan Cain’s breakthrough TED Talk, The Power of Introverts, has been viewed over 8 million times. She is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution LLC and the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She aims to encourage introverts to own their power, and extroverts to pay attention to the signs beyond the noise.

Finding Passions:

Laura Vanderkam is a nationally recognized writer who questions the status quo and helps her readers rediscover their true passions and beliefs in pursuit of more meaningful lives. She’s the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, and a contributor to Fast Company, USA Today, and other publications.

Curiosity Fix:

Maria Popova (aka, Brain Pickings) is the brain behind Brain Pickings. She describes herself as “an interestingness hunter-gatherer and curious mind at large.” She has written for and been featured in Wired UK, The New York Times, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, and The Atlantic, among others, and is a MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow. Brain Pickings is a discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.

Jason Silva is a futurist, filmmaker, host of the National Geographic Channel’s Brain Games, and the creator of Shots Of Awe, an online show that explores “where science, philosophy, and inspiration collide.”

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