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Press Release

Big Think and Singularity University Study Reveals 2015 Exponential Leaders

Big Think and Singularity University Study Reveals 2015 Exponential LeadersBig Think and Singularity University Study Reveals 2015 Exponential Leaders

New York – March 5, 2015 – Big Think, the online video network where the world’s leading thinkers examine the most essential ideas of our age, and Singularity University (SU), a education and business accelerator, today announced the results of the 2015 Disruptive Innovation Survey.

Big Think and Singularity University partnered to conduct this first-ever study into the traits of exponential leadership to fully understand the impact of exponential technology on global business. The survey was developed from and informed by Salim Ismail’s ‘Exponential Organizations’ and SU co-founder and CEO Peter Diamandis’ and Steven Kotler’s new book, ‘Bold’.

The study of 1,283 U.S. based executives revealed today’s chief executives who are viewed as leaders in disruptive innovation:

  • Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, Larry Page of Google, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com and Richard Branson of Virgin Group named as top four disruptive innovators leading large organizations.
  • Yancey Strickler of Kickstarter, Travis Kalanick of Uber, Brian Chesky of Airbnb and Chance Barnett of Crowdfunder named as top four most effective leaders achieving disruptive innovation in young, start-up companies.
  • Chris Anderson of TED, Salman Khan of Khan Academy, Joanne Liu of Doctors Without Borders, Sue Desmond-Hellmann of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named as top four most effective leaders achieving disruptive innovation in non-profit organizations.

A selection of the chief executives named as 2015’s top exponential leaders are continuing the conversation surrounding disruptive innovation by taking part in exclusive Big Think video interviews, including Richard Branson, Chris Anderson, Yancey Strickler and Chance Barnett.

Respondents also identified 3D printing, additive manufacturing and nanomaterials as the top technologies that will have the most disruptive impact on business in the next three years. In addition, 63 percent of respondents identified experimentation and “failing fast” as the most important practice in creating disruptive innovation.

“Disruptive innovation is a polarizing force and company leaders must understand how they can benefit from such change,” said Peter Hopkins, Co-Founder and President, Big Think. “At Big Think, we bring actionable insights from the greatest minds of our time and we are excited to share the results as leaders work to disruptively innovate for success.”

“Within the next decade, as many as 40 percent of today’s S&P companies may be gone – disrupted by rapidly advancing technologies and the entrepreneurs adapting quickly to this new environment,” said Rob Nail, Associate Founder and CEO, Singularity University. “The leaders we identified in this survey have provided the early models of how to not only survive, but thrive in this new era of exponential organizations.”

Full survey results can be accessed here.

Editor’s Notes

Total survey respondents of 1,283 United States based executives.

About Big Think

Big Think is a video-centric online learning platform, where 2,000 of the world’s leading thinkers explore the most essential ideas of our age. Created for an astute and engaged audience, Big Think’s 12,000+ exclusive videos are short, sharp and elegantly filmed and go beyond the lecture to provide expert knowledge and actionable insights. Big Think’s videos have been viewed more than 100 million times and the Big Think YouTube channel has over 1 million subscribers. Big Think’s videos are also available on Facebook, where the brand boasts over a million ‘Likes’. In addition, Big Think produces exclusive content for corporate subscribers to Big Think Edge, providing major companies with videos and supplemental materials tailored to their employees’ needs, to help them build the expertise they need to innovate and compete. For more information, please visit www.bigthink.com.


Singularity University’s (SU) mission is to educate inspire and empower a generation of leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. As a California Benefit Corporation SU is committed to creating positive global impact through three core areas: Education Innovation and Community. Since 2009 SU has hosted entrepreneurs industry leaders and government officials from more than 85 countries and has prepared individuals and organizations for exponential technology changes through a series of events conferences and education programs and within its business accelerator SU Labs. SU’s Founding Corporate Partners include Genentech Autodesk Cisco ePlanet Ventures Google Kauffman Foundation and Nokia.

Big Think Media Contact: Laura Thorburn, laura@hunt-gather.com, tel: 646-790-1610

SUMedia Contact: Diane Murphy, diane@singularityu.org, tel: 201-361-9681