Summary of Where Does Growth Come From?

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Where Does Growth Come From? summary
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  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
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In this illuminating lecture delivered at Google in 2016, Clayton M. Christensen – author of the seminal The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail – explains why business leaders must change the way they measure success, or risk almost inevitable failure. Christensen delves into the drivers of growth and offers a plausible theory to account for recent economic woes in the United States, Europe and Japan. Christensen, who wrote 10 best-selling books and taught at the Harvard Business School until his death in 2020, is widely considered one of the most influential business thinkers of the last 50 years.

About the Speaker

The late Clayton M. Christensen, an American scholar, educator and business consultant, was the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail among other titles.



Companies produce four types of innovation – and only one generates growth.

All business investment supports innovation, of which there are four types:

  1. Potential innovations – These can provide the basis for a healthy business if marketing decision makers understand how to choose and brand products.
  2. Sustaining innovations – These offer improvements to existing products, but they don’t create growth.
  3. Disruptive innovations – This is the only category that generates growth. They transform products to make them more accessible and affordable. These innovations allow businesses to sell to much larger groups of customers.
  4. Efficiency innovations – This type of innovation helps companies produce more with lower inputs.

Understanding the job to be done is the key to developing potential innovations.

Only a fraction – between about 15% and 25% – of potential innovations will succeed in financial terms. Investments in these products seem like gambles, but only because decision makers don’t understand marketing. Developing successful products depends...

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