November 30, 2016

Defined broadly, a visionary is one who can envision the future. To put it in everyday terms, a visionary imagines what does not yet exist but might some day. The three individuals on this list, not only have the ability to do that, but they possess the skills necessary to make the future happen.

Charlotte Blank, executive director of The Maritz Institute
 Blank is a key person bridging the gap between academic theory and applied incentive practice, working to elevate the use of field research to better understand the human psyche in the modern marketplace. A student of neuroscience and business, she is also helping lead the effort to explore the industry potential of nascent technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and FinTech. "The rise of Big Data will continue to have a significant impact on the incentive industry," says Blank. "The more we know about program participants, the more customized our solutions will become."

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: The launch of The Maritz Institute field research exchange platform allows the organization to conduct creative and strategic field experiments in partnership with its expanding academic network of applied behavior scientists.

 David Sturt, executive vice president of O.C. Tanner
 Sturt is a thought leader at a top engagement and recognition firm that practices what it preaches -- O.C. Tanner made the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work list for the past two years. Sturt has spoken about creativity and collaborative innovation for TEDx, written for publications including the Harvard Business Review and Forbes, and used extensive research from the O.C. Tanner Institute as the basis for his 2013 New York Times bestseller Great Work: How to Make a Difference People Love.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: Along with a growing investment in research from its O.C. Tanner Institute, the company has made significant investments in technology recently. These include Yearbook, a service-award platform that incorporates manager, peer, and family comments with rich media; and Welbe, a new enterprise wellbeing solution. It has invested heavily in digital marketing and expansion in India and the Asia-Pacific region.

Melissa Van Dyke, president of The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)
 Van Dyke is leading the IRF's powerful industry research output, and the organization's push to make the results easier to use by practitioners. She says the group's efforts, "not only helped us create our most successful Invitational to date, but also allowed us to create more universal resources, with 23 outstanding research efforts in the pipeline... as well as more university support, with efforts under way to create the first master's degree with incentive travel in the title," says Van Dyke.

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENT: Along with the Board of Trustees and staff, Van Dyke completely overhauled the IRF's internal infrastructure last year to better enable it to meet its Vision2020 goals.

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