Clayton M. Christensen
Conference Center Auditorium
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
• View the SC10 Keynote Address from Clayton M. Christensen. Click here to download
Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth.
Professor Christensen holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (1975), and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University (1977), where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992.
Christensen has served as a director on the boards of a number of public and private companies. He is currently a board member at Tata Consulting Services (NSE: TCS), Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC), W.R. Hambrecht, and Vanu Inc. Christensen also serves on Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), and has advised the executives of many of the world’s major corporations. They generate tens of billions of dollars in revenues every year from product and service innovations that were inspired by his research.
From 1979 to 1984 Christensen worked as a consultant and project manager with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he was instrumental in founding the firm's manufacturing strategy consulting practice. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow, and served through 1983 (on a leave of absence from BCG) as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.
Christensen is an experienced entrepreneur, having started three successful companies. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Professor Christensen served as chairman and president of CPS Technologies a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. CPS is a leading developer of products and manufacturing processes using high-technology metals and ceramics such as silicon nitride, silicon carbide, and aluminum oxide.
In 2000, Christensen founded Innosight, a consulting firm that uses his theories of innovation to help companies create new growth businesses. In 2007, he founded Rose Park Advisors, a firm that identifies and invests in disruptive companies. Christensen is also the founder of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank whose mission is to apply his theories to vexing societal problems such as healthcare and education.
Professor Christensen became a faculty member at the Harvard Business School in 1992, and was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998, becoming the first professor in the school’s modern history to achieve tenure at such an accelerated pace.
Professor Christensen is the bestselling author of five books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997) which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator’s Solution (2003), and Seeing What’s Next (2004). Recently, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix our healthcare system. Four of his five books have received awards as the best books in their categories in the years of their publication.
Professor Christensen's writings have been featured in a variety of publications, and have won a number of awards, such as the Best Dissertation Award from The Institute of Management Sciences for his doctoral thesis on technology development in the disk drive industry; the Production and Operations Management Society's William Abernathy Award, presented to the author of the best paper in the management of technology; the Newcomen Society’s award for the best paper in business history; and the 1995, 2001, 2008 and 2009 McKinsey Awards for articles published in the Harvard Business Review.
Professor Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973 and speaks fluent Korean. He continues to serve in his church in a variety of ways and is extensively involved in other activities in the community. He has served the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years as a scoutmaster, cubmaster, den leader and troop and pack committee chairman. He and his wife Christine live in Belmont, MA. They are the parents of five children.
How to Create New Growth Businesses in a Risk-Minimizing Environment
Disruption is the mechanism by which great companies continue to succeed and new entrants displace the market leaders. Disruptive innovations either create new markets or reshape existing markets by delivering relatively simple, convenient, low cost innovations to a set of customers who are ignored by industry leaders. One of the bedrock principles of Christensen's disruptive innovation theory is that companies innovate faster than customers' lives change. Because of this, most organizations end up producing products that are too good, too expensive, and too inconvenient for many customers. By only pursuing these "sustaining" innovations, companies unwittingly open the door to "disruptive" innovations, be it "low-end disruption" targeting overshot-less-demanding customers or "new-market disruption", targeting non-consumers.
1. Many of today’s markets that appear to have little growth remaining, actually have great growth potential through disruptive innovations that transform complicated, expensive products into simple, affordable ones.
2. Successful innovation seems unpredictable because innovators rely excessively on data, which is only available about the past. They have not been equipped with sound theories that do not allow them to see the future perceptively. This problem has been solved.
3. Understanding the customer is the wrong unit of analysis for successful innovation. Understanding the job that the customer is trying to do is the key.
4. Many innovations that have extraordinary growth potential fail, not because of the product or service itself, but because the company forced it into an inappropriate business model instead of creating a new optimal one.
5. Companies with disruptive products and business models are the ones whose share prices increase faster than the market over sustained periods
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