The High-Velocity Edge: A book review by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition Steven J. Spear McGraw-Hill (2009) The power of causal mechanisms that can drive a continuously self-improving system Clayton Christensen’s high praise of Steven Spear and this book is well-deserved. Do not be misled by its subtitle, “How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence [.].

LeadershipNow 140: January 2020 Compilation

Leading Blog

Here are a selection of tweets from January 2020 that you don't want to miss: Teaching By Heart: A Guide For Great #Leadership This It is a remarkable book and a perfect means to refocus your leadership development this year. Clayton Christensen Rocked The World Gently from @JohnBaldoni.

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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). Managing organizations Managing people Operations Digital Article

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Breaking the Death Grip of Legacy Technologies

Harvard Business Review

Organizations develop processes through repeated problem solving. The Future of Operations. The latter are troublesome because the knowledge base and skills required to operate in the new realm are so fundamentally different. One of Christensen’s favorite examples is steel minimills, whose electric arc furnaces used scrap steel as their feedstock. Operations Operations management Manufacturing Business processes Financial analysis Disruptive innovation

Disruptive Business Models | N2Growth Blog

N2Growth Blog

Why didn’t Folgers recognize the retail consumer demand for coffee and develop a Starbucks type business model? With the continued rapid development of technology taking the concept of globalization and turning it into hard reality facing businesses of all sizes, it is time for executives and entrepreneurs to examine their current business models from a disruptive perspective.

Overcoming the Barriers to Corporate Entrepreneurship

Strategy Driven

Organizations do not operate in isolation, and hence it is critical to bring key stakeholders, including suppliers, on board with any new initiative. To address the concerns of the standard supply chain providers, assure them that once developed, the innovative product will be best served by an efficient supply chain, but while in the development stage, responsiveness is essential.

Why and How to Build an In-House Consulting Team

Harvard Business Review

Today, many high-profile companies— Cisco , Google , IBM , Samsung , Siemens , Disney , Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank , to name a few—contain such roving consulting groups to help solve the most critical strategy and operations problems throughout the business. Like any firm in need of business development, we build relationships with executives across the company, and pitch proposals. Organizational structure Operations Article

Ideas Don't Equal Innovation | N2Growth Blog

N2Growth Blog

In order for your enterprise to turn an idea into a monetizing and/or value creating event you should develop a strategic plan that attempts to measure the idea against the following 15 elements: 1. It should be developed as a solution to a problem or to exploit an opportunity. Moore and Christensen tell us what to do, but their prescription is rarely followed.

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

Harvard Business

This is a play straight out of Clay Christensen’s disruption playbook. ” [Ford Smart Mobility’s] role is to design, develop, build, invest, and grow these mobility services. The reason we wanted to do it separate is because, you have to realize that we needed to give them the flexibility and the operating structure to be able to be competitive with other technology and mobility services companies that move really fast.

Keeping Work Organized when Your Team Is Fragmented

Harvard Business Review

Apple gets mobile apps from independent software developers. And Indian mobile phone provider Bharti Airtel uses IBM to manage its computer systems and Ericsson to operate its cell tower infrastructure. The technology (browser-based apps and "cloud" infrastructure) for these apps didn't exist five years ago, according to Steve Christensen, CEO of Babbleware. In a previous post, I described how MITRE, which manages five research and development centers for the U.S.

Meaningful Work Should Not Be a Privilege of the Elite

Harvard Business

But their way of thinking about prosperity also offers direction for any managers who want to work harder to make the world better off: your mission is to imagine, develop, and launch more life-improving solutions, especially the kinds of goods and services that improve ordinary people’s lives. Businesses have a variety of social responsibilities, but the essential one—and the main reason that private enterprise is given license to operate—is to innovate.

Socially Responsible Business Can Only Succeed If It Becomes a Movement

Harvard Business

Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.” Of course, the ideas that corporations must earn their “license to operate” and serve stakeholders that go far beyond shareholders are not new. Tim Ellis/Getty Images.

We Need to Expand the Definition of Disruptive Innovation

Harvard Business Review

The latter is according to Clayton Christensen, Michael Raynor, and Rory McDonald in their recent HBR article “ What is Disruptive Innovation?” Christensen, Raynor, and McDonald argue that Uber is not disruptive because it offers neither a low-end service, nor a new market. This idea of excess capacity is missing from the definition offered by Christensen and his co-authors. I’m still a fan of Christensen’s work and his theories of disruption.

How Understanding Disruption Helps Strategists

Harvard Business Review

That’s no surprise, since Clayton Christensen co-founded our company in 2000, five years after his Harvard Business Review article with Joseph L. Christensen and two co-authors revisit where disruption theory stands today in a new HBR article, “What Is Disruptive Innovation?” Christensen’s research shows that disruption often starts at a market’s edges. Through the past 15 years my colleagues and I have wrestled with disruption in many contexts.

How Corporate HQ Can Get More from Innovation Outposts

Harvard Business

Clay Christensen's landmark theory -- in under two minutes. The company no longer has any operations at all in Silicon Valley. For example, the outposts of a pharma company develop and distribute a company-wide newsletter of the latest trends and news from the hotspot. In March 1848 San Francisco newspaperman Samuel Brannan announced that gold had been found in California. In the gold rush that followed, more than 300,000 people headed to the area to make their fortunes.

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0511 | Larry Downes: Full Transcript


If you know the kind of classic work of Clayton Christensen, he said that the way disruptive innovations could enter the market is as worse-but-cheaper innovations that would kind of establish a niche market of non-customers of yours as the incumbent and then work their way up and get better over time and eventually challenge your core markets and your core technologies. In that sense, the Christensen solution has become counterproductive; in fact, it’s become dangerous.

The Real Power of Platforms Is Helping People Self-Organize

Harvard Business

It’s even become a noun of sorts — uberization — which people use to describe a disruptive change to a staid industry ripe for innovation (though, to be sure, the popularization of the word “disruptive” means that it is often used in ways that the concept’s author , Clay Christensen, didn’t intend). Airline operations are a huge optimization challenge. Uber, the car-sharing service, has become ubiquitous.

Blockchain Will Transform Customer Loyalty Programs

Harvard Business

Clay Christensen's landmark theory -- in under two minutes. IBM, for example, is partnering with startup Loyyal to develop blockchain infrastructure for loyalty and rewards programs. Initially, each loyalty program might look to develop its own solution, but over time smaller loyalty programs might choose to band together to compete more effectively with larger ones. Loyalty programs have proliferated across travel, retail, financial services, and other economic sectors.

Great Corporate Strategies Thrive on the Right Amount of Tension

Harvard Business

Excessive strategic stress is typically a result of one or more of the following causes: (1) Too much autonomy, i.e. employees that follow their own agendas at the expense of corporate alignment (2) unrealistic strategic plans, i.e. the organization is not able to live up to the plans put forth by top management, and (3) market dynamics, i.e. external developments that push the organization in other directions than what was initially planned. Azri Suratmin/Getty Images.

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. Once businesses refine their model as start-ups and move towards mature operations, we as shareholders want them to shift from exploration to efficiency. Would they operate smoothie stores like Jamba Juice? Innovation Product development ROI

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What Business Schools Don???t Get About MOOCs

Harvard Business Review

Clay Christensen, the innovation expert, advocates instead the approach taken by Wharton, which has made MOOCs out of all its core courses. Buta key point! it kept the online venture separate, organizationally and operationally. The company simply straddled the two channels, without creating any operating linkages across them. I hope Christensen is right, but I fear that Shirky may be. Theres trouble in business-education paradise.

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. For the last century, America has operated on the world's technological frontier.

In 2014, Resolve to Make Your Business Human Again

Harvard Business Review

As Clayton Christensen likes to note , the primary job of leadership today is to “source, assemble, and ship numbers.” Worshipping at what Christensen calls the “church of finance” hollows out a company’s competitive advantage, as it loses the capacity to invest in innovation that drives the perpetual reinvention so necessary in today’s world of temporary competitive advantage.

Groupon Doomed by Too Much of a Good Thing

Harvard Business Review

This is the essence of Groupon's declaration last week that it will remove the controversial accounting metric called Adjusted Consolidated Segment Operating Income (ACSOI) from its financial statements. Clayton Christensen would agree with the intuition that Groupon displays but ignores: businesses should become profitable before they become big. "Alright, you caught us. We're actually not making any money. In fact, we are really losing a lot of money.".

What the Best Transformational Leaders Do

Harvard Business

He got the top job because of that, and then as CEO he accelerated cloud-business development to make it the company’s primary strategy. Clay Christensen , Professor at Harvard Business School and Innosight co-founder. Today AWS accounts for just 10% of Amazon’s $150 billion in revenue, but generates close to $1 billion in quarterly operating profit. ” They Develop a Road Map Before Disruption Takes Hold.

It???s Time to Retool HR, Not Split It

Harvard Business Review

In the The Capitalists Dilemma, Clay Christensen and Derek van Bever suggest that leaders have been trained and socialized to their role as capitalists, and thus come to rely too heavily on familiar and traditional finance principles. Retooling HR makes organization leaders smarter by applying their existing sophistication about finance, engineering, operations and marketing to HR and talent decisions. Lets be clear. Ram Charans recommendation is wrong.

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. The by-now-standard, Christensen-inspired corporate response to disruptive innovation is to create a separate operation, with different incentives and structure than the parent organization, to exploit the innovation.

What Would It Take to Disrupt a Platform Like Facebook?

Harvard Business Review

By contrast, disruption, and particularly demand-side disruption of the type put forward by Clay Christensen, is a force that relies on a steady process of picking off one customer at a time. Both companies, while under a corporate umbrella, operate as independent brands with largely independent development teams. Doing so would have completely upended their product development organization.

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Two Ways to Hire Effective Innovators

Harvard Business Review

Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen identify five "discovery skills" that make for innovative mindsets: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking. For example, we'll ask candidates to develop an innovation strategy for the CEO of a major beverage company, synthesizing insights from the market conditions outlined in a beverage industry trend report (which we provide).

Founding a Company Doesn’t Have to be a Big Career Risk

Harvard Business Review

Develop deep expertise — your best risk-mitigation strategy . The most important way to mitigate risk is to become excellent at either engineering, product, selling, or operations and management. One option is to build expertise before founding a company: ask VCs and others in the startup community to recommend the most competent people they know — heads of engineering, sales, product, and operations — and look for a job working directly under them.

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How Thomson Reuters Is Creating a Culture of Innovation

Harvard Business Review

As Steve Blank, Clay Christensen, and many others have pointed out, once firms reach a certain size, most of their resources (and investment dollars) are rightly devoted to executing and defending their existing business model. While many managers were developing new products and services for their own businesses, they were not leveraging innovation across the enterprise, and some were relying too much on acquisitions to drive both innovation and growth.

Jeff Bezos Brings His Low-Margin Ways to Newspapers

Harvard Business Review

That''s partly because, as Clayton Christensen, Stephen Kaufman, and Willy Shih wrote in the 2008 HBR article "Innovation Killers," standard financial metrics make new investments look much less attractive than existing business lines. In 2012, the Pew Charitable Trusts said in its latest State of the News Media report, "the operating margin for Gannett was 9.9%, New York Times 5.4%, McClatchy 15.1%, E.W. The Washington Post operated at a 9.2%

The Status Quo Is Risky, Too

Harvard Business Review

If the customers haven’t changed much, point to changes in the competitive environment that make your strategy less sound today than it was when it was developed. Then develop a risk profile for your current strategy using the same framework you’re using to assess your new strategic options. If you have assessed the risk of your strategic options in terms of brand risk, operational risk, market risk, and so on, do the same for the current strategy.

What’s Holding Uber Back

Harvard Business Review

Based on our field work applying Clayton Christensen’s foundational research on disruptive innovation, we look at potential disruptors’ performance in three critical areas. Next, the innovator has to develop a behind-the-scenes advantage: a way of producing a product or service that seems magical from the customer’s perspective and that is difficult for other companies to replicate. As a consumer, I absolutely love Uber.

How Amazon Trained Its Investors to Behave

Harvard Business Review

In fact, Amazon was only operating at such a high burn rate because it could. Clayton Christensen has long complained that standard financial metrics can be enemies of innovation and growth. Or, when they emphasize earnings, it's in the opposite direction from what Christensen's worried about. In March 2000, Barron's reported that 51 Internet companies were burning cash so fast that they'd be broke by the end of the end of the year.

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Learning on Speed

Harvard Business Review

Hart does not quite do what the Kahn Academy does but she operates in the same space. And Hart is not the only one who has developed this skill. These developments stand in sharp contrast to what Apple has focused on. The problem, as Clay Christensen has recently emphasized, is that students rarely learn at the same rate, let alone in the same way.

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How Separate Should a Corporate Spin-Off Be?

Harvard Business Review

The traditional advice, from Clayton Christensen’s work on disruptive innovations and Michael Tushman’s on organizational ambidexterity , is to set up the new activity as a separate unit, reporting to a manager at the corporate headquarters who can sponsor the new activity and help to integrate it with the rest of the company. The divisions pay for what they get, and contribute a negotiated amount to the development of the brand.

When Success is Born Out of Serendipity

Harvard Business Review

The obvious targets were people in the field of innovation — those working in strategy, R&D, business development, and entrepreneurship. My own publisher, HBS Press, published two the very same month as my book — one of them co-authored by heavyweight Clay Christensen. By the end of the '80s, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer had realized, through rigorous analysis, that Microsoft needed to abandon its still-struggling new operation system, Windows, because of a memory flaw.

What Great Social Media Campaigns Get Right

Harvard Business Review

Pepsi Refresh failed because it had no relevance to the brand’s operations or heritage. After a successful career as a corporate consultant, he became the Director of Economic Development for Rhode Island, a cabinet level position, where he saw the opportunity to put his ideas into action and create innovation at scale. Given AmEx’s operations, consumer base, and resources, it’s well positioned to do so. American Express has developed “Small Business Saturday.”

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Memo to the CEO: Customers Are the Key to Growth

Harvard Business Review

R&D and product development launch products that receive tepid responses. In doing research for my book , I found that companies who are attracting buyers in today's hyper-connected world are developing new approaches and competencies that focus on one thing: customers. But the good news is that once you do develop and implement them, you'll find they're much less expensive and far more effective. Find your customer product developers.

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

Harvard Business Review

See comments by Clayton Christensen and Mark Cuban ). Still, most colleges are lucky if they can afford even a small team charged with developing new lines of business and new business models. Presidents and provosts will tell you: operating budgets are tight. But if you go to the operational side of the institution, they feel investing capital is the business of their money managers, so they in turn pass the buck or avoid the decision entirely.

A New Framework for Customer Segmentation

Harvard Business Review

In Clay Christensen''s words, customers "hire" products or other solutions because they have a specific job to fulfil, not because they belong to a certain segment. This then allows the development of specific solutions for each segment. Her confession was blurted out in the midst of our first conversation about the new digital marketing strategy which we would eventually advise them on: "You know, I don''t think I believe in segmentation anymore."

LeBron on Ice, or the Fallacy of the Corporate Superstar

Harvard Business Review

But a range of research has shown how successful entrepreneurs generally act differently from successful operators.*. 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. And some superstars have very innovation-friendly experience, such as launching a new product, opening up an office in an emerging market, or operating in a constrained environment.