Interested in getting your own thought leader profile? Get Started Today.

Charlene Li

San Francisco, California, United States


I help leaders and organizations thrive with disruption as an expert on digital transformation and leadership expert. I've been writing since 1999 and have seen business, society, and the world undergo seismic changes. My work includes writing books, speaking, consulting, and serving on boards.

I help leaders and their organizations in four ways:

1) Research and Writing: I share my research and thinking through books, going on six! Books provide an opportunity to go more deeply into specific topics. I also periodically publish research through Altimeter. My latest research focuses on creating disruptive transformation strategies, leadership in the digital era, changing the culture to work at the speed of digital customers.

2) Speaking and Workshops: From opening conference keynotes to intimate executive gatherings, my speeches and workshops educate and identify specific actions people can take to thrive in the digital era. Peppered with relevant examples, these speeches and workshops are tailored for each engagement.

3) Consulting Projects. I'm lucky to have 400+ globally-based colleagues at Prophet with whom I partner with to deliver in-depth strategy development. These range from creating a robust digital or social strategy to developing an employee engagement plan and community. For more information about Prophet, visit

4) Board and advisory roles: I serve on several boards of companies seeking to create disruptive, exponential growth, advising on issues from strategy and fundraising to organization and culture.

Charlene LiPoints

Points based upon Thinkers360 patent-pending algorithm.

Thought Leader Profile

Portfolio Mix

Company Information

Areas of Expertise

Digital Transformation 37.23
Leadership 36.41
HR 30.04
Innovation 32.35
Digital Disruption 33.10
Social 48.57
Entrepreneurship 34.37
Management 36.71
Culture 30.14
Diversity and Inclusion 30.41
Business Strategy 30.05

Industry Experience

Please signin or signup to view publication section.


1 Advisory Board Membership
The Poynter Institute
January 07, 2009
Served on the advisory board for The Poynter Institute. Focused on how Poynter should adjust its activities with the digitization of journalism.

The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalism. It is the world’s leading instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership

10 Article/Blogs
How Disruptors Build Trust and Power
June 07, 2021
Leadership is about the gathering and the exercising of power, which allows you to influence people so that they take action. That is what power is all about — not control, not force, but influence. Strong, effective leaders know how to accumulate power and use it at the right times.

See publication

Tags: Digital Disruption, Leadership, Business Strategy

How Let Go of Control and Lead With Relationships
May 24, 2021
Welcome to Leading Disruption, a weekly letter about disruptive leadership in a transforming world. Every week we’ll discover how the best leaders set strategy, build culture, and manage uncertainty all in service of driving disruptive, transformative growth.

See publication

Tags: Digital Disruption, Leadership, Culture

Three Ways Digital Transformation Can Close The Diversity Leadership Gap
March 31, 2021
As a woman of color, I’m often asked how leaders and their organizations can address systemic inequities in our society. My response is to look in our own backyards, within our own organizations. You don’t have to look far to see inequities that we have chosen too long to ignore.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion

Why Brands Should Care About Clubhouse’s Success
February 24, 2021
Clubhouse is the "it" tech platform of the moment, having exploded 10X from just 600,000 users in December to 6 million users in February. It's an invitation-only, audio-only app with an underlying social network to support connections. There are a few things driving this ferocious growth.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Management

Creating a Culture That Supports Disruptive Innovation in a Post-COVID World
December 01, 2020
We’ve been living in a world turned upside down by a pandemic, going into the winter with dire predictions of the next surge. Yet, there’s hope in sight with the development and distribution of vaccines. We will emerge at some point – and the time to prepare for that post-COVID world is now.

See publication

Tags: Digital Disruption, Innovation, Culture

Five Ways to Lead in Disruptive Times
March 25, 2020
Like many of you, the events of the past few weeks have thrown me flat on my butt. My heart goes out to the many people who are dealing with COVID-19 in their families or have lost their jobs. And my soul grieves for the pain that is yet to come.

See publication

Tags: Digital Disruption, Innovation, Leadership

Four Disruption Lessons from Book Self-Publishing and Burning Man
December 08, 2019
This fall I did two things that pushed me far out of my comfort zone: self-publishing my latest book and going to my first Burning Man. These seemingly unrelated adventures have some surprisingly common challenges. Book publishing is an arduous process that requires seemingly unending days of solitary focus, laboring over words that won’t come. Burning Man requires a journey to a lifeless desert and enduring dust storms and freezing nights.

See publication

Tags: Digital Disruption, Social, Leadership

Employee Adoption of Collaboration Tools in 2018
August 27, 2019
Last week I had the honor of speaking at the Evanta Global CIO Executive Summit and toward the end of the speech casually mentioned that I'd be releasing this report on Monday. Afterwards, many of the CIOs expressed deep interest in the data, sharing that this is one of their top priorities through the end of 2018 and into 2019. So I'm excited to share the report!

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership, HR

5 Ways to Train Your Executives on Digital Transformation
August 01, 2018
If you are leading a digital transformation effort, you know how important it is get executive buy-in. Yet many leaders have only a tangential grasp of what it means to be “digital” and shy away from getting their hands dirty. Altimeter found that low digital literacy or expertise among employees and leadership was the top challenge facing digital transformation initiatives. What’s frustrating is that while there is a plethora of training and development options, most executives still hang by their fingertips.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Innovation

Reflecting on 10 Years of Groundswell -- and What Comes Next
April 24, 2018
10 years ago, my co-author Josh Bernoff and I released our first book, “Groundswell: Living in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”. On this anniversary, I wanted to reflect on what our expectations were when we published that work, what has changed, and what has not. Josh has shared his thoughts as well.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership

1 Board Membership
Jumpshot Inc
September 19, 2018
Served on the Jumpshot Board of Directors and the Audit Committee. I'd been following Jumpshot for over two years and joined the board because they provide deep insight into customer journeys while adhering to the strictest protocols around personally identifiable information (PII).

See publication

Tags: Management, Leadership, Entrepreneurship

4 Books
The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail
September 24, 2019
Many companies make disruption their goal. They believe that if they develop the right innovation, they will disrupt their markets forever and drive the kind of growth worthy of a magazine cover story. But as bestselling author Charlene Li explains, that’s not how disruption works. Disruption doesn’t create growth; instead, growth creates disruption.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Digital Disruption

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies
March 25, 2019
Corporate executives are struggling with a new trend: people using online social technologies (blogs, social networking sites, YouTube, podcasts) to discuss products and companies, write their own news, and find their own deals. This groundswell is global, it s unstoppable, it affects every industry and it s utterly foreign to the powerful companies running things now.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Social

The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation
March 17, 2015
NYT and WSJ bestselling author Charlene Li guides business leaders deeper than ever before into the uncomfortable and ever-changing terrain of the digital era

Technology has revolutionized the very idea and nature of relationships between leaders and their followers. Yet, many leaders remain stuck at arms-length from those they lead and serve, relying on specialized teams to interact with customers, their direct reports to keep tabs on how employees are doing, and on the digital natives in their organization to stay abreast of new technologies.

See publication

Tags: Digital Transformation, Leadership

Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead
May 24, 2010
Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead

See publication

Tags: Social, Leadership

1 Founder
Altimeter, a Prophet Company
July 14, 2015
I help leaders thrive with disruption as a Senior Fellow at Altimeter which I founded and was acquired by Prophet in July 2015.

I have written or co-authored six books, including "Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies"​, the New York Times bestseller, "Open Leadership"​, "The Engaged Leader", and my latest book, "The Disruption Mindset".

My current research includes leadership, digital strategy, employee experience, and creating growth and innovation cultures.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship

1 Industry Council Member
World Economic Forum
January 20, 2011
Member of the New Models of Leadership Global Advisory Council, which developed leadership frameworks and priorities for the WEF.

See publication

Tags: Innovation, Management, Leadership



Contact Charlene Li

Media Kit

Share Profile

Contact Info


Charlene Li

Latest Tweets