Reading List – The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms To Fail

The Book:


the innovator's dilemma
Clayton Christensen (wikipedia) in The Innovator’s Dilemma talks about the age-old predicament faced by managers across industries. Christensen addresses the problem of good business practices vs. best choices in this multi-industry study.  Based on his theory of ‘disruptive innovation’, Christensen, emphasizes on adopting changing technologies. Answering decades of research that has attempted to understand the failure of the best of companies, the author shows how most companies miss out on new waves of innovation.  He says: it is actually the same practices that lead the business to be successful in the first place that eventually can also result in their eventual demise.

About The Author:
Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.  Christensen wears many hats in his life: professor, author, entrepreneur, missionary, husband, and father. 

Excerpt:
‘How Can Great Firms Fail? Insights from the Hard Disk Drive Industry

When I began my search for an answer to the puzzle of why the best firms can fail, a friend offered some sage advice. “Those who study genetics avoid studying humans,” he noted. “Because new generations come along only every thirty years or so, it takes a long time to understand the cause and effect of any changes. Instead, they study fruit flies, because they are conceived, born, mature, and die all within a single day. If you want to understand why something happens in business, study the disk drive industry. Those companies are the closest things to fruit flies that the business world will ever see.”‘

Our Favorite Quote:

Blindly following the maxim that good managers should keep close to their customers can sometimes be a fatal mistake.

Recommended Because:
Christensen’s guide on disruptive innovation suggests abandoning traditional business practices, transcending time and industry to help manager’s see and act on forthcoming changes. Cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell – Christensen’s work is a must read for managers, CEOs, innovators and entrepreneurs.

What Others Have To Say:

“A masterpiece….the most profound and useful business book ever written about innovation.”
-George Gilder

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1st edition (May 1, 1997). Get it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.