Review of The Innovator’s Dilemma

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  • Concrete Examples
  • Applicable
  • Visionary


Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen’s excellent book is a classic of innovation literature. The innovator’s dilemma is that doing the right things can lead to failure. Sometimes it is wrong to listen to customers, invest in the highest return opportunities and do all of the things that make a successful company work. Clearly written, amply documented, provocative and challenging, this 1997 classic is indispensable for anyone in management. It changed the way managers think about business.

About the Author

Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration, with joint appointments in Technology, Operations Management and General Management, at Harvard Business School. 


Why Good Companies Go Bad

Christensen addresses one of the most vexing issues in business: Why do good companies fail? He explains that established firms – with known customers and formal structures – find change hard. Their existing assumptions blind them to disruptive possibilities. Christensen argues that when these businesses try to be innovative or disruptive, they develop something new, show it to existing customers – who aren’t interested – and shelve it. Meanwhile, upstart companies develop these new technologies, and more. Customers whom established firms didn’t serve become the initial market for these cheaper products. As the upstarts improve, they take market share. Established firms try to compete only when it is too late, and they fail.

Christensen illustrates his points with examples from industries you might think have little in common, like computer disk makers and steel mills. He focuses on companies that do everything right, have excellent management, stay close to customers and continuously improve the quality of their products, and yet they do not succeed. 

More on this topic

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Be the Disruptor
The Innovative University
How Will You Measure Your Life?
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    Juan Levicoy 6 years ago
    “La mejor manera de pensar en el futuro es crearlo”, Peter Drucker
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    Khaled Ahmed 7 years ago
    One of the greatest book written.