Clayton M. Christensen's research while affiliated with Harvard Medical School and other places

Publications (70)

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Full-text available
The concept of disruptive innovation has gained considerable currency among practitioners despite widespread misunderstanding of its core principles. Similarly, foundational research on disruption has elicited frequent citation and vibrant debate in academic circles, but subsequent empirical research has rarely engaged with its key theoretical argu...
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All SC10 Conference attendees are welcome to join us as we begin the SC10 Education Program. The Education Program is designed to introduce HPC and computational tools, resources and methods to undergraduate faculty and pre-college educators. The program also assists educators in integrating HPC and computational techniques into their classrooms an...
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Unlike traditional market segmentations that are based on a correlation of product sales or service with the attributes of the purchaser (such as age, gender, income level, and education level), jobs-based segmentation seeks to understand the causal roots of purchase--when a buyer needs to "hire" a product or service to get a "job" done. This note...
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As concerns over the recent economic malaise have combined with continuing concerns about climate change, many policy makers have held up a new generation of clean energy technologies as a way to address both problems at once. For our purposes, clean/green energy technologies are those which either harness power from renewable, sustainable sources...
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The February 2010 special issue of IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management contains several papers on managing innovation in emerging economies. Li's paper on global R&D alliances uses an organizational learning perspective to examine when multinational corporations (MNCs) select universities rather than local firms as partners for R&D alliance...
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"How do I find innovative people for my organization? And how can I become more innovative myself?" These are questions that stump most senior executives, who know that the ability to innovate is the "secret sauce" of business success. Perhaps for this reason most of us stand in awe of the work of visionary entrepreneurs such as Apple's Steve Jobs,...
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The technology S-curve is a useful framework describing the substitution of new for old technologies at the industry level. In this paper I use information from the technological history of the disk drive industry to examine the usefulness of the S-curve framework for managers at the firm level in planning for new technology development. Because im...
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This is the second of two papers in which I use information from the technological history of the disk drive industry to examine the usefulness of the S-curve framework for managers at the firm level in planning for new technology development. In this article I show that it is in architectural, rather than component innovation, that entrant firms e...
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This study traces the origins of innovative strategies by examining the attributes of ‘innovative entrepreneurs.’ In an inductive grounded theory study of innovative entrepreneurs, we develop a theory that innovative entrepreneurs differ from executives on four behavioral patterns through which they acquire information: (1) questioning; (2) observi...
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How smart companies create wealth in emerging markets.
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The art and science of testing children to see what they have learned can and should change. Here's how.
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Disruptive innovation has brought affordability and convenience to customers in a variety of industries. However, health care remains expensive and inaccessible to many because of the lack of business-model innovation. This paper explains the theory of disruptive innovation and describes how disruptive technologies must be matched with innovative b...
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Use technologies that compete against nothing Teachers, administrators, researchers, reformers, government leaders, parents, and others have long extolled the benefits that computer-based learning could have in schools: Educational video games, often referred to as "edutainment" or "serious" games, could make learning fun and motivating, especially...
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Most companies aren't half as innovative as their senior executives want them to be (or as their marketing claims suggest they are). What's stifling innovation? There are plenty of usual suspects, but the authors finger three financial tools as key accomplices. Discounted cash flow and net present value, as commonly used, underestimate the real ret...
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How a company views its markets determines what it produces, how it takes those products to market, who it believes its competitors are, and how large it believes its market opportunities are. Most companies segment along lines defined by the characteristics of their products or customers because that is the most accessible data. But these are poor...
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Countries, organizations, and individuals around the globe spend aggressively to solve social problems, but these efforts often fail to deliver. Misdirected investment is the primary reason for that failure. Most of the money earmarked for social initiatives goes to organizations that are structured to support specific groups of recipients, often w...
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Employers can choose from lots of tools when they want to encourage employees to work together toward a new corporate goal. One of the rarest managerial skills is the ability to understand which tools will work in a given situation and which will misfire. Cooperation tools fall into four major categories: power, management, leadership, and culture....
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Ted Levitt used to tell his Harvard Business School students, "People don't want a quarter-inch drill--they want a quarter-inch hole." But 35 years later, marketers are still thinking in terms of products and ever-finer demographic segments. The structure of a market, as seen from customers' point of view, is very simple. When people need to get a...
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A unique opportunity presented to examine the process of building the theory of disruption, is discussed. The development of the theory of disruption is built in two major stages such as the descriptive and the normative stage. The descriptive stage of theory building is a preliminary stage, because researchers generally must pass through it before...
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Companies need to match their research activities to the industry situation. Moreover, they can only successfully commercialize a new technology if they control all of the activities with which that technology interacts. Attempting to do otherwise is likely to end in frustration. After a technology is "good enough" for the marketplace, the necessar...
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Theory often gets a bum rap among managers because it's associated with the word "theoretical," which connotes "impractical." But it shouldn't. Because experience is solely about the past, solid theories are the only way managers can plan future actions with any degree of confidence. The key word here is "solid." Gravity is a solid theory. As such,...
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An overview on the semiconductor industry through the predictive lens of the disruptive technology framework was presented. The rewards for manufacturing devices on the latest cutting edge technology node were decreasing. Chasing the next technology node delivered enormous value to the market and to the companies that enabled the progress.
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Financial difficulties are threatening many healthcare organizations. To survive and target new markets of growth, strategic decision makers need to adapt existing business frameworks using the principle of disruptive innovation, which involves framing financial problems in a manner that incorporates changes in the marketplace and redefines solutio...
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In a century in which technology left few aspects of life unchanged in some countries, the microprocessor may be the most transformative of all. Throughout most of its history, the microprocessor business has followed a consistent pattern. As with other ICs, microprocessors has for the past few decades been undergoing the exponential rise in perfor...
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The probability of creating a successful, new growth business is 10 times greater if the innovators pursue a disruptive strategy rather than a sustaining one. A sustaining innovation is one which meets the demands of existing customers in established markets. In contrast, a disruptive innovation is one which creates entirely new markets and busines...
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This paper proposes a deductively derived model to help managers who preside over decisions to integrate or outsource to assess ex ante whether, when and why it might be strategically and competitively important to develop internal capabilities to perform certain activities in-house, and when it would be sensible and safe to outsource elements of v...
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What was it Wayne Gretzky said about why he was so good at hockey? He just skated to where the puck was going next. Executives and investors wish they could do so too, to sense where profits are going next. Following a six-year study of profitability patterns, the authors have developed a model for doing just that. In the early stages of a product'...
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Why didn't a single minicomputer company succeed in the personal computer business? Why did only one department store-Dayton Hudson-become a leader in discount retailing? Why can't large companies capitalize on the opportunities brought about by major, disruptive changes in their markets? It's because organizations, independent of the people in the...
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It's no secret that health care delivery is convoluted, expensive, and often deeply dissatisfying to consumers. But what is less obvious is that a way out of this crisis exists. Simpler alternatives to expensive care are already here--everything from $5 eyeglasses that people can use to correct their own vision to angioplasty instead of open-heart...
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Companies find it difficult to change strategy for many reasons, but one stands out: strategic thinking is not a core managerial competence at most companies. Executives hone their capabilities by tackling problems over and over again. Changing strategy, however, is not usually a task that they face repeatedly. Once companies have found a strategy...
Book
Analyzes how successful firms fail when confronted with technological and market changes, prescribing a list of rules for firms to follow as a solution. Precisely because of their adherence to good management principles, innovative, well-managed firms fail at the emergence of disruptive technologies - that is, innovations that disrupt the existing...
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Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
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Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
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Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
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Understanding when entrants might have an advantage over an industry's incumbent firms in developing and adopting new technologies is a question which several scholars have explained in terms of technological capabilities or organizational dynamics. This paper proposes that the value network—the context within which a firm competes and solves custo...
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Innovations based on radically new technologies are believed to create advantages for entrants over incumbents in the relevant markets. Under what circumstances is this true? To what extent do incumbents' disadvantages stem from their failure to make timely commitments to new capabilities and new strategies as opposed to their inability to implemen...
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E N 2003, APPLE INTRODUJO EL IPOD Y EL ITUNES STORE, con lo que revolucionó el entretenimiento por-tátil, creando un nuevo mercado y transformando la em-presa. En sólo tres años, la combinación iPod/iTunes se convirtió en un producto de casi US$ 10.000 millones, que equivalen aproximadamente a 50% de los ingresos de Apple. La capitaliza-ción de mer...
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Managers today have a problem. They know their companies must grow. But growth is hard, especially given today's economic environment where investment capital is difficult to come by and firms are reluctant to take risks. Managers know innovation is the ticket to successful growth. But they just can't seem to get innovation right. When companies ke...
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Draft, 2001 Some scholars of management, organizations and markets expend significant energy disparaging and defending various research methods. Debates about deductive vs. inductive theory-building; case-based information versus large-sample data; and qualitative versus quantitative research are dichotomies that surface almost daily in the lives o...

Citations

... Accordingly, a notable future research direction is measuring the impact of information overload in the market orientation process and examining how it affects the association among market orientation and new product performance. Fifth, being overly market oriented might also lead a firm to be obsessed with market information on customers' past experiences and expressed needs and to encounter an overload of ambiguous irrelevant market information (Christensen & Bower, 1996;Cui & Xiao, 2019;Morgan & Anokhin, 2020); thus, casting light on how to effectively prioritize and determine the value of market information acquired and disseminated within an organization merits further empirical investigations. Finally, the current study empirically investigated product launch quality as a significant deployment mechanism through which market orientation affected new product performance. ...
... Durch die oben genannten Herausforderungen des traditionellen Crowdsourcing, wird aus Unternehmenssicht das Problem des "Innovator's Dilemma" berührt. Wie von Clayton Christensen in seinem Buch "The Innovator's Dilemma" (Christensen 2003) vorgestellt, stehen etablierte Organisationen vor dem Problem, dass sie neue und potenziell "disruptive" Marktteilnehmer nicht ernst nehmen und als potenzielle Konkurrenz erkennen. Ein Unternehmen mit einem innovativen aber unausgereiften Produkt ist auf den ersten Blick keine ernst zu nehmende Konkurrenz für eine auf Exzellenz ausgerichtete Organisation. ...
... Sustaining innovation improves the performance of existing products and services characteristics without representing a significant change, in line with how Christensen et al. [26] define it. While Christensen classifies innovation as sustaining or radical, we find it useful to distinguish between radical and disruptive innovation in addition. ...
... The boundaries of the ecosystem remain unclear, because the actual system value proposition-autonomous shipping-is in early development, and the value it creates and for whom is unclear. In addition, emerging technologies and connected business models face challenges when entering the market and appropriating value created by the innovation unless they fit the incumbent ecosystem structure (Christensen, Rory, McDonald, Altman, & Palmer, 2017); they need a different structure to the activities of the ecosystem to fully realize their inherent value creation potential. Moreover, to ensure the willingness of ecosystem actors to contribute to the ecosystem value proposition, each actor has to be able to capture a fair share of the commonly created value (Hellström, Tsvetkova, Gustafsson, & Wikström, 2015;Talmar, Walrave, Podoynitsyna, Holmström, & Romme, 2018;Tsvetkova, Nokelainen, Gustafsson, & Eriksson, 2017). ...
... A "job" is the fundamental action a customer wants to achieve with a Existing New Market product. The JTBD involves the idea that we "hire" products for their functionality [41]. Silverstain et al. [42] described four main types of organic growth strategies based on the functionality or JTBD of a product these are (a) core growth, (b) related job growth, (c) new job growth and (d) disruptive growth ( Table 3). ...
... There is consensus about the lack of transparency and clarity in defining FI and what constitutes an FI. 24 At present, there is no standard definition of FI which may be in part due to the various terminologies such as jugaad, 25 reverse innovation, 26 Ghandian, 15 shanzhai, 27 bricolage, 27 disruptive, 28 resource-constrained innovation, 29 good-enough, 30 grass root innovation, 18 31 cost innovation, 20 32 that are frequently used interchangeably due to its similar premise despite its different backgrounds. 8 31 33 34 Several core characteristics typify the approach to defining FI, including, 'bottom-ofthe-pyramid (BOP) innovation', 'good-enough innovation', 'doing more with less', 'resource scarcity' and 'sustainable innovation.' ...
... The disruption caused by the internet revolution has resulted in an exponential increase in the growth of new technologies and the resultant technology disruptions in the workplace (Chambers, 2015;Schwab, 2016;Tilson et al., 2021). Many firms do not grasp new technology trends early enough to improve business processes and capitalise on these emerging technologies (Christensen et al., 2015;Christensen & Christensen, 2003;Ebert & Tavernier, 2021). ...
... A strong customer-centred approach to pursuing innovation, however, does not guarantee successful outcomes (Felin et al. 2017). Hamel and Prahalad (1991) and Christensen and Bower (1996) have suggested that a strategy focused on optimally fulfilling the demands of existing customers can lead firms to ignore other potential customers. Over the past decades, the caveat known as 'the innovator's dilemma' (Christensen 1997) has been echoed in a myriad of studies on technology strategy, organizational change and disruptive innovation (e.g. ...
... Yet there is ample evidence that this upfront creative renewal still faces a type of innovation valley of death (Markham et al., 2010) that must be crossed in order to bridge development phases and reach real, large-scale markets. Many attractive and innovative ideas and proofs of concept either fall at overly harsh stage gates, or are distorted or downgraded into incremental innovative offers (Christensen, Kaufman, & Shih, 2008;McDermott & O'Connor, 2002). As Christensen et al. (2008, p. 38) put it: "The Stage-Gate system assumes that the proposed strategy is the right strategy; the problem is that except in the case of incremental innovations, the right strategy cannot be completely known in advance. ...
... An overview of evaluation criteria for classifying into types of disruption are presented in table III. The frameworks use different approaches; some of them list features related to a specific type ( [5], [7] to some extent), while others list a process of how to evaluate certain areas ( [12], [7]). They all consider, more or less, the same types of disruption, being some variant of disruption involving product diffusion coming from the low end of a market, a new market, or more controversially the high end of a market. ...