One of the finest minds in business management of the last 30 years is gone. Fortunately, he leaves behind quite a few good readings. Some must readings, I would say. Because for all the debate around the concept of disruptive innovation, I think it is one of the very few ideas in the management science which is worth understanding.
The innovator’s dilemma has the allure of good marketing plus the uncanny aura of game theory, much in the vein of the prisoner’s dilemma. In my own experience:
- Everybody uses “disruption” and disruptive innovation all the time, but most don’t know what they are talking about. This is business as usual… because hype eats understanding for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s the magic of a catchy word.
- Most managers facing “disruption” in well-established industries are incapable to foresee its possible consequences and the induced incoming competitive dynamics in their relevant markets. (e.g. one I know very well: telecom) That’s the beauty of the concept.
Disruption is far from everything in the complex world of innovation. Of course. And Christensen is more than disruptive innovation.
We need more people like Christensen, able to look around, see what’s happening and give us a small piece of logic which serves as a lantern to help us foresee into the future, or better, a way to skate where the future will be.
Long live Clayton Christensen. Long live disruption!
Featured Image: Clayton Christensen