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Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)


Harvard Business school professor and expert on innovation (pictured right) .

The book was a big influence on Apple's legendary boss, Steve Jobs (pictured right below).


See also...Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)

Clayton Christensen in the Management Gurus section. 


Book summary


Why isn't business success guarenteed?

Successful companies will eventually fail, even when they adopt strategies associated with organizational excellence like:Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)

  • closeness to the customer.
  • innovation.
  • total quality management.


What  is the “innovator's dilemma”?

 This arises from:

 Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)

a) over-focus on existing customers

(and so inattention to satisfaction of future customer needs).


b) ignoring “disruptive innovation” 

(in small, fast growing markets).

This is based on “disruptive technologies” (like the Internet and digital technology).


How to solve the innovator's dilemma 

To solve this dilemma and benefit from disruptive technology, an organization must be:

 Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)

1. Opportunistic 

Being first in a market you know about.

So disruptive technologies are best exploited by independent business units separate from the mainstream business.


2. Not totally dependent on market research

Existing customers won’t tell you about the potential of new technologies.

 Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997)

3. Flexible

An organization’s values and processes must change and adapt to new markets.

The innovator’s job is to take advantage of disruptive technology without sacrificing existing customers.


Key quote on innovation

Managing better, working harder and not making so many dumb mistakes is not the answer to the innovator’s dilemma.

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