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University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

Thornton May
Futurist & Executive Director & Dean
IT Leadership Academy

Thornton May is a futurist, educator and author. His extensive experience researching and consulting on the role and behaviors of “C” level executives in creating value with information technology has won him an unquestioned place on the short list of serious thinkers on this topic. Thornton combines a scholar’s patience for empirical research, a stand-up comic’s capacity for pattern recognition and a second-to-none gift for storytelling to address the information technology management problems facing executives. The editors at eWeek honored Thornton, including him on their list of Top 100 Most Influential People in IT. The editors at Fast Company labeled him ‘one of the top 50 brains in business.’

Thornton has established a reputation for innovation in time-compressed, collaborative problem solving. Thornton designs the curriculum that enables the mental models that allow organizations to outperform competitors, delight customers and extract maximum value from tools and suppliers. He serves as: Executive Director and Dean at the IT Leadership Academy in Jacksonville, Florida; Futurist - External Technology Advisory Board at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering; and Co-founder of the CIO Solutions Gallery at the Fisher College of Business [the Ohio State University] where he also teaches the MIS program for eMBAs.

Thornton’s insights have appeared in the Harvard Business Review (on IT strategy); The Financial Times (on IT value creation); The Wall Street Journal (on the future of the computer industry); the M.I.T. Sloan Management Review (on the future of marketing), American Demographics (on the evolving demographics of Electronic Commerce), USA Today (on the future of the consumer electronics industry), Business Week (on the future of CEO direct reports) and on National Public Radio (debating the future practice of strategy with Professor Michael Porter). Thornton is a columnist at Computerworld and has served as an Advisor to the Founding Editors of Fast Company Magazine.

Thornton’s research has been acknowledged in such seminal business books as Seth Godin's Permission Marketing; Michael Schrage's Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate; Moshe Rubenstein's The Minding Organization; Bill Jensen's Simplicity; and Jeff Williams' Renewable Advantage: Crafting Strategy Through Economic Time.

Thornton has recently written a new book, The New Know: Innovation Powered by Analytics.

Thornton obtained his bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Dartmouth College; his master’s degree in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University, and developed his Japanese language competence at the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan and Keio University in Japan.