As with any of our blogs at Bamboo it’s best not to use this as the basis of a PhD or consider it as peer reviewed research.
With that caveat out of the way I’ve increasingly noticed people describing themselves as ‘Thought Leaders’ on LinkedIn. With the definition being a bit too nebulous for me to get my head around I instead thought I’d look into the global and then regional distribution of thought leaders and leave the concept for others to analyse.
So, to kick things off I thought I’d get the total number of people on LinkedIn who self-identify as thought leaders and then look at how this breaks down in terms of the largest countries where English is the main language. There may well be a French or Mandarin equivalent of thought leader but it’s well outside the remit of this blog:
Expressed as a pie chart it doesn’t really tell us much except that most of the worlds thought leaders are in the US, but you probably didn’t need me to tell you that would be the case:
What is much more interesting is what it looks like if you break down the number of thought leaders as a percentage of the total population (according to Wikipedia):
A surprisingly even distribution I’m sure you’ll agree, here’s the data:
I’ve multiplied the percentage by 1000 to make comparison a bit easier. So, interestingly Australia and the US have broadly the same number of thought leaders in their population which is roughly double that of the UK, Canada, NZ and Ireland. But even then, the range isn’t as much as I would have imagined.
As a slight aside, that works out to one English speaking thought leader on LinkedIn per 32,038,349 people globally.
Moving on to the UK:
The first thing to note is that there’s a fairly big discrepancy between the overall number of thought leaders in the UK and those I could find by searching by city, try as I might I couldn’t figure out where the missing 2,910 thought leaders of the UK are living so I tried to include a broad range of places.
Again, the overall pie chart doesn’t really tell us anything except that most are based in London, again, quelle surprise:
However, once again, when shown as a percentage by population the pie chart is more revealing:
Which leads me to conclude that the missing 2,910 thought leaders are probably fairly evenly distributed between every town and city in the UK, I just don’t have the time or inclination to check.
Again, the stats by city:
So, what can you conclude from all this? Without other numbers to compare it to, very little.
Perhaps that the overall distribution both on an international and regional level is surprisingly similar in countries where English is the first language.
Looking at the regional distribution of thought leaders in the UK it seems that areas in the Celtic League have roughly half the number of thought leaders with the exception of the three in Llandudno where the stats might have been skewed by the very low numbers. Why this might be is anyone’s guess.
I’ll have to revisit this one in a year or so to see how things have changed, stay tuned…