Summary of How Leaders Delude Themselves About Disruption

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How Leaders Delude Themselves About Disruption summary

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Clayton Christensen developed his theory of disruptive innovation in the mid-1990s. Although most executives will be familiar with it, few organizations have transformed to become capable of navigating it. Scott D. Anthony is a senior partner at growth strategy consultancy Innosight, and Michael Putz is a strategy and business development executive. In this insightful article for MIT Sloan Management Review’s special collection on disruption in 2020, Anthony and Putz pinpoint why leaders have lagged in preparing their organizations to meet disruption, and offer a surprising key to moving forward.

About the Authors

Scott D. Anthony is a senior partner at growth strategy consultancy Innosight and co-author of Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future. Michael Putz is a strategy and business development executive with two decades of experience driving growth through disruptive innovation and business transformation.


Most organizations remain vulnerable to disruption.

Researchers and experts have offered leaders ample insights into disruption and approaches to preparing for it – beginning in 1997 with Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. Yet more than 20 years later, only a few organizations have transformed accordingly.

Cellphone maker Nokia offers an object lesson. Nokia president Pekka Ala-Pietilä had certainly educated himself on disruption: In 2003, he provided a quote for the cover of Christensen’s follow-up volume, The Innovator’s Solution. Yet, from a dominant position in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nokia faltered toward an ignominious demise by 2014. FedEx and Netflix, once paragons of innovation, appear poised to suffer a similar decline. An Accenture study shows that 44% of ...

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