The Essential Clayton Christensen Articles

Harvard Business

Understanding these pieces is critical for strategy teams, product development units, and organizational leaders. Disruptive innovation Innovation Strategy Digital Article

Netflix's Bold Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

It is Clayton Christensen 's innovator's dilemma incarnate, and Netflix is very publicly trying to solve it. The vast, vast majority of these are for software development of one sort or another to support the streaming business. On top of the technical skills, Netflix is building an organization tuned to the needs of a disruptive environment. Music to any innovator's ears. Disruptive innovation Managing uncertainty Organizational culture


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How Big Data Is Changing Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Much fanfare has been paid to the term “disruptive innovation” over the past few years. Christensen has even re-entered the fold clarifying what he means when he uses the term. Disruptive innovations are: Cheaper (from a customer perspective). The reason these characteristics of disruption are important are that when all three are present, it’s difficult for an existing business to respond to competition. Is Uber disruptive?

We Need to Expand the Definition of Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Zipcar counts as a disruptive innovation. The latter is according to Clayton Christensen, Michael Raynor, and Rory McDonald in their recent HBR article “ What is Disruptive Innovation?” ” The authors explain that disruption “describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” I just think they are missing the new disruption in town.

Find a Job Using Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Disruptive innovators ask the right questions, observe the world like anthropologists, network for novel ideas, and experiment to make things work. For a more detailed look at these skills, see The Innovator's DNA ). Applying the skills disruptive innovators use to your job search can help you unearth more, and better, opportunities. Disruptive innovators approach networking in a unique way.

The Real Secret to Thriving Amid Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

Breyer stands out — both in the room and the Twitter echo chamber — by sounding like an Old Testament prophet (or at least like Clay Christensen ): "traditional media companies unless they radically change. Lots of industries have been turned upside down by innovation over the years. But no industry has ever had its disruption chewed over in quite such exhaustive, exhausting detail as the media in the age of the internets. The disruption just keeps on going.

Watch: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

Harvard Business Review

Have you mastered the five skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers? In The Innovator’s DNA , co-authors Jeffrey Dyer , Hal Gregersen , and Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution) built on what is known about disruptive innovation to show how individuals can develop the skills necessary to move from idea to impact. Innovation webinar

LeadershipNow 140: October 2015 Compilation

Leading Blog

Transforming Organisations for Sustained Innovation by Hubert Gatignon via @INSEADKnowledge. MIT: New research fundamentally challenges Clay Christensen's theory of disruptive innovation. Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas. Here are a selection of tweets from October 2015 that you might have missed: 12 Simple Steps for Making Yourself Indispensable by @LollyDaskal via @Inc.

The Power of Designing Products for Customers You Don’t Have Yet

Harvard Business

But without good options for doing that, I ended up doing nothing – what Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen calls “non consumption.” ” But as Christensen observes, finding pockets of non consumption is a ripe opportunity for innovation. Another example is found at Southern New Hampshire University, which is also explored in Christensen’s recent article (I’m one of the co-authors on the piece). Paul Garbett for HBR.

If Ford Wants to Beat Tesla, It Needs to Go All In

Harvard Business

The auto industry is facing a trio of disruptive technologies: electric batteries, autonomous vehicles, and the mobile phone. ” That isn’t very specific but I think we can take it to mean that Ford is handling disruption by investing in a separate business unit. This is a play straight out of Clay Christensen’s disruption playbook. As Ford CEO, Mark Fields, explained to The Verge : “Our approach is to first disrupt ourselves.”

Revealing Leadership Insights From Thinkers50

Tanveer Naseer

From blue ocean strategy to Michael Porter’s five forces, Vijay Govindarajan’s reverse innovation to Richard D’Aveni’s hypercompetition, great thinkers and their ideas directly effect how companies are run and how business people think about and practice business. And, the winner of the 2013 Thinkers50, Clay Christensen, now sees his ideas of disruptive innovation used and applied by managers in their relentless quest for competitive advantage.

How Understanding Disruption Helps Strategists

Harvard Business Review

Through the past 15 years my colleagues and I have wrestled with disruption in many contexts. That’s no surprise, since Clayton Christensen co-founded our company in 2000, five years after his Harvard Business Review article with Joseph L. Bower “ Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave ” introduced the idea of disruption to the mainstream market. First, disruption directs you to look in places you might otherwise ignore.

Disruptive Business Models | N2Growth Blog

N2Growth Blog

While much has been written about corporate vision, mission, process, leadership, strategy, branding and a variety of other business practices, it is the engineering of these practices to be disruptive that maximizes opportunities. Without a disruptive focus you are merely building your business model on a “me too&# platform of mediocrity. So why do so many established and often well managed companies struggle with disruptive innovation?

Create Early Warning Systems to Detect Competitive Threats

Harvard Business Review

The work of two of the most important scholars in the field, Clayton Christensen and Richard N. One of the key tipping points in a market occurs when a company, in Christensen's language, overshoots a given market tier by providing them performance that they can't use. Executives in market leaders in those sectors need to watch these developments carefully, because the seeds of transformation are being sown as we speak. Disruptive innovation Innovation Strategy

A Disruptive Solution for Health Care

Harvard Business Review

Editor's note: This post is part of a three-week series examining innovation in health care, published in partnership with the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. The transformational force that has brought affordability and accessibility to other industries is disruptive innovation. Today's health-care industry screams for disruption. But disruption solves the more fundamental question: How do we make health care affordable?

The Disruption of Venture Capital

Harvard Business Review

".most often the very skills that propel an organization to succeed in sustaining circumstances systematically bungle the best ideas for disruptive growth. An organization's capabilities become its disabilities when disruption is afoot." – Clayton Christensen, The Innovator's Solution. Over the years, venture capitalists have been some of the most ardent students of disruptive innovation. Disruptive innovation Venture capital

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Stop Reinventing Disruption

Harvard Business Review

These days, the term disruption is greatly overused. Both articles espoused slightly new definitions of disruption, expanding the categorization of the world that Clay Christensen introduced us to more than 20 years ago. The similarity between the two: both articles hinted at a sort of "high-end" disruption. Simply put, the argument for "high-end" disruption is a bad one. Disruption is a story of rational responses to a changing environment.

China, America, and Copycat Economics

Harvard Business Review

Clayton Christensen's theories of innovation provide us a great lens through which we can understand this seeming paradox. When trying to build new growth businesses, Christensen observes that organizations need to employ an emergent strategy-making process. However, if you don't know what success looks like, the emergent strategy development process is required to eventually succeed. Such a dynamic is antithetical to effective innovation.

Why Spotify Will Kill iTunes

Harvard Business Review

But innovation theory can provide a crystal ball; theory could have predicted iTunes' success and it's currently predicting Spotify's success. To appreciate the truth of this claim, it's vital to understand one of Clayton Christensen's theories on marketing and product development: Jobs-to-be-done. With a basic grasp of technology innovation trends, Tower should have known as much and immediately begun running around with its hair on fire. Disruptive innovation Media

Breaking the Death Grip of Legacy Technologies

Harvard Business Review

Organizations develop processes through repeated problem solving. And then we have Clay Christensen’s work on disruptive innovations : how a new technology that is initially not good enough for mainstream customers, initially gains a foothold with a set of low-end customers who are happy with a less expensive, “good enough” product. More importantly, managers need to monitor the tool innovation roadmap.

To Stay Ahead of Disruption's Curve, Follow Lead Users

Harvard Business Review

Recent corporate history is littered with successful established firms who failed to manage disruptive innovation even with full knowledge that it was coming. For Clayton Christensen, this is a basic flaw of incumbency. They are not "lead users" — users who today want new solutions to leading-edge needs that will disrupt firms serving the middle of the market tomorrow. Steve Jobs, influenced by Christensen, was keenly aware of the innovator's dilemma.

Why the X Games Won’t Dethrone the Olympics

Harvard Business Review

Does that mean the Olympic organizers ought to wake in a cold sweat worrying if they will join the list of organizations such as Kodak, Blockbuster, and Sears that stumbled in the face of disruptive change? The reason why serves as a good reminder of how to assess the full impact of a potentially disruptive innovation. The process of disruption follows a predictable pattern. Next, can the disruptive idea improve to move into broader market segments?

A Disciplined Approach to Evaluating Ideas

Harvard Business Review

That's one memorable piece of advice from a leader at a global innovation powerhouse. The general way around this problem seems simple enough — have a process by which you evaluate ideas in different ways at different stages of development (most call this a "stage-gate process."). Our fund specifically looks to seed businesses that have the potential to disrupt existing markets or create new ones. Disruptive innovation Innovation

Investors Punish Amazon for Investing in Disruptive Growth

Harvard Business Review

And these investments are being made in the infrastructure to support not just a single disruptive business, but a number of disruptive-growth opportunities. Below is a snapshot of Amazon's portfolio of disruptive businesses: • Amazon Retail — disrupting traditional retailers. Amazon Kindle — disrupting the paper book format and paper book retailers. CreateSpace — a self-publishing solution that disrupts traditional publishing houses.

What’s Holding Uber Back

Harvard Business Review

I also love Uber as a student (and teacher) of disruptive innovation theory, because the challenges the transportation company is encountering as it seeks to expand into new cities helpfully illustrate how to assess an idea’s disruptive potential. This is important, because companies that adhere as closely as possible to the patterns of disruption have the greatest chance to create explosive growth and transform markets. Competition Disruptive innovation

The Idea That Led to 10 Years of Double-Digit Growth

Harvard Business Review

In the mid-90s as CEO of Medtronic, I was concerned about whether we could sustain the remarkable success in innovation that we had enjoyed during the previous 10 years. As we grew, I knew it would be very difficult to continue to create the breakthrough innovations that had led to Medtronic's high growth rate, which had exceeded 18% per annum for a decade. Then I read Clay Christensen and Joe Bower's 1995 article "Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave" in HBR.

Stop Talking About Social and Do It

Harvard Business Review

Disrupting How We Work. Many of you know of Clay Christensen's iconic work the Innovators Dilemma. In other words, "Look how the steel mini-mills making rebar disrupt the established integrated steel mills making sheet steel." At each point in the disruption, it makes economic sense for the big company to surrender that bit of the market to the disruptor, and so big companies logically put themselves out of business. How does this lead to disruption?

When “Scratch Your Own Itch” Is Dangerous Advice for Entrepreneurs

Harvard Business Review

Clayton Christensen first documented this phenomenon in his study of the disk drive industry , and found that new companies targeting existing customers succeeded 6% of the time, while new companies that targeted non-consumers succeeded 37% of the time. Dropbox began with the difficulty of backing up and sharing important documents, and developed a system that was easier to use than carrying around a USB stick and less expensive than paid services like Carbonite.

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Universities Are Missing Out on an Explosive Growth Sector: Their Own

Harvard Business Review

Education is on the brink of rapid change that will create a lot of value for innovators. One representative example: April’s Education Innovation Summit , where more than 2,000 people energetically discussed how technology and markets are charting the future of education globally. At the Education Innovation Summit the only university endowment in attendance was the University of Texas‘s UTIMCO. See comments by Clayton Christensen and Mark Cuban ).

Three Year-End Innovation Takeaways from Asia

Harvard Business Review

I argued a few months ago that the innovation axis was shifting from the West to the East. Silicon Valley remains the global hot spot of innovation, and America continues to churn out innovative companies like Groupon and Bloom Energy. The period of growth that Asia is enjoying still involves a heavy dose of replication and leveraging raw resources, but Western companies that discount the region's innovation potential do so at their own peril.

Where You'll Buy Pants in the Future

Harvard Business Review

In this month's HBR magazine , Clayton Christensen and I explained how corporate executives and strategists can use a framework to evaluate the speed and scope of disruption. The article, Surviving Disruption, outlines how not all waves of disruption are uniform. Disruptive businesses, like online retailers, are often uniquely positioned to perform a handful of jobs-to-be-done, but poorly positioned to perform others. Disruptive innovation Retail

Best Buy Can't Match Amazon's Prices, and Shouldn't Try

Harvard Business Review

In this month's HBR, Professor Clayton Christensen and I have an article that describes how to develop core business strategy in the face of disruption. The article, " Surviving Disruption ," represents our first attempt in two decades to outline the other side of disruption — how to manage legacy businesses. To survive disruption, managers of legacy businesses need to change the game. Competition Consumer goods Disruptive innovation

LeBron on Ice, or the Fallacy of the Corporate Superstar

Harvard Business Review

A company makes the strategic decision to create a group dedicated to the creation of innovative growth businesses. All the techniques and mental tricks executives develop over time to run established businesses can be completely counter to what is needed to successfully innovate. That doesn't mean that the Corporate Superstar has no role to play in innovation. Innovation muscles can be built. If they don't, but they have time to develop them, that might be OK.

Overcoming the Barriers to Corporate Entrepreneurship

Strategy Driven

Instead, longevity is based on entrepreneurial thinking and innovation – in exploring ways to adapt corporate and business strategies in response to market, technological, and social and cultural change. Professor Marshall Fisher of the Wharton School of Business studied the role of suppliers in product innovation and found that it is beneficial to shift suppliers when moving forward with an innovative product.

Ideas Don't Equal Innovation | N2Growth Blog

N2Growth Blog

As a result of our conversation, I decided to dust-off an old post, give it a few updates, and pass along my thoughts, which can be best summarized as “ Ideas Don’t Equal Innovation. Those of you familiar with my work are probably wondering if it is really me authoring this text…if you’re baffled at how a champion of innovation can simultaneously be an idea-basher, I urge you to read on, and I promise the congruity will become apparent.

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What Kind of Innovative Does Apple Have to Be?

Harvard Business Review

So is iTunes Radio an innovation? Other new features announced at Apple''s World Wide Developers Conference Monday, such as the iOS 7 and Mavericks operating systems, had a bit more actual newness to them. Sounds great, I guess, and probably even innovative. The subject of whether Apple is still innovative has become an extremely touchy one over the past year. Except for a few dark years in the mid-1990s, Apple has always been very good at sustaining innovation.

Blockchain Will Transform Customer Loyalty Programs

Harvard Business

Loyalty programs are ripe for some kind of disruptive innovation that would make them easier to use. The Explainer: Disruptive Innovation. Clay Christensen's landmark theory -- in under two minutes. The Benefits of Disruption. Many industries have experienced disruption, due to technologies that successfully reduced inefficiencies and frictions, often disintermediating established players in the process.

0511 | Larry Downes: Full Transcript


You are also the author of a ton of different stuff around this idea of disruption, the most recent one being- I’m making sure I get this title right. The most recent being Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation. Talk about some of the ideas that kind of led you both to wanting to write this book, and then we’ll get into what this term big bang disruption means. You call it this big bang disruption.

How Corporate HQ Can Get More from Innovation Outposts

Harvard Business

Even organizations that remain headquartered in other cities have set up innovation outposts there in the hope that high-tech silicon dust will rub off on them. Setting up innovation outposts in global technology clusters, such as Silicon Valley, Boston, and Tel Aviv, is highly popular among Fortune 500 corporations. Persuaded by such logic, companies agree to make the investment and set up their innovation centers. The Explainer: Disruptive Innovation.

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Disrupt Yourself

Harvard Business Review

I had worked for over a decade to develop relationships with Latin American business leaders, several of whom were on Forbes' billionaire list. Time to disrupt myself. We typically define disruption as a low-end product or service that eventually upends an industry. But I've found that the rules of disruption apply to the individual too. Or as thought leader Jennifer Sertl writes, "innovation ultimately begins on the inside.".

Reflecting on David Garvin’s Imprint on Management

Harvard Business

Garvin was a generalist more than a specialist, perhaps because he came of age at HBS during the 1980s, when the school’s primary focus was the development of skilled general managers. Kaplan’s balanced scorecard or Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation. Case closed (until engineers develop an algorithm that does the job better).

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New Books from the Press - End of Summer

Harvard Business Review

Learn how to master the art of the performance review: define job responsibilities, set goals, assess performance, provide recognition, and create development plans. The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. By Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clay Christensen. Alongside Clay Christensen, Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen conducted an in-depth study that uncovered the five skills shared by the best innovators in the world.

How Big Companies Should Innovate

Harvard Business Review

They're bad at innovation by design: All the pressures and processes that drive them toward a profitable, efficient operation tend to get in the way of developing the innovations that can actually transform the business. However, I also pointed out a paradox: being bad at innovation and good at execution isn't necessarily undesirable. But giving up the pursuit of innovation seems less than satisfying, if not unrealistic. Innovation Product development ROI

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