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Learn the key ideas of the book by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator’s Dilemma

When new technologies lead to the failure of big companies

The Innovator’s Dilemma presents us with an in-depth analysis on the impact that disruptive technologies have on companies, offering an overview of some strategies that could help us not to be washed away by the wave of change. Christensen provides a guide to help us understand when not to listen to clients, and when to invest, offering a list of tips that can help leaders successfully deal with disruptive tech.

The Innovator’s Dilemma
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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand how to implement disruptive technology.
  • Help large companies to keep on top of disruptive technology.
  • Study innovative cycles and seek to improve our management.

The author of the book:

Clayton M. Christensen is a professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also co-founder of Innosight, a managerial consulting company; of Rose Park Advisors, an investment company, and of The Unnosight Institute, a non-profit think tank. He has written eight highly influential books, among which is the bestseller The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life? And Disrupting Class. The New Yorker has called him “the most influential business thinker on earth”.


What are the principles that enable companies to stay on top of disruptive technologies?

This book focuses on analysing disruptive technologies and the devastating impact they have on big companies. In particular, it explains the reasons for their failure, and the strategies we can put in place to help companies ‘keep up’, and ride the wave of innovation.

During the course of the book five fundamental principles of organisational nature that managers in successful firms have recognised and harnessed:

  • Companies depend on consumers and investors for their resources. Managers deal with keeping the financial situation under control, but the truth is that the company’s financial situation really lies in the hands of consumers and investors.
  • Small markets do not help big companies satisfy their need for growth. The higher a company’s turnover, the more difficult it will be for it to launch in a new, small market, because the potential increase in profit is too low in relation to their costs.
  • Markets that do not exist cannot be analysed. This makes classic market forecasting useless; companies need a new strategy. There should be plans for learning and discovery, rather than plans for execution.
  • A company’s abilities also define its limitations. What we mean by this is that when a company declares its strengths, its weaknesses automatically emerge.
  • The technology offered might not correspond with market demand. When technology advances, it standardises for all brands. At this point, the product becomes a simple commodity, and customers’ will make their choice based on price. This creates fertile ground for disruptive technology.

The book is split into two parts: the first part analyses the reasons why great companies fail if they cannot manage disruptive technology; the second part offers suggestions to help ride the wave of disruptive technological change.


The key ideas of "The Innovator’s Dilemma"

What are the principles that enable companies to stay on top of disruptive technologies?
The struggle companies are up against when trying to survive disruptive changes
Assessing the effects of technology on value networks
The 6 steps that characterise disruptive technology
Strategies to help managers deal with competitors who propose disruptive innovations
The best way for a manager to deal with disruption
Learn to expect the unexpected
Take-home message

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