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The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
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The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,319 Ratings  ·  568 Reviews
In this revolutionary bestseller, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership -- or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate.

Focusing on "disruptive technology" -- the Honda Super Cub, Intel's 8088 processor, or the hyd
Paperback, 286 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Harper Paperbacks (first published 1997)
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Mal Warwick
Nov 26, 2013 Mal Warwick rated it liked it
Chances are, you’re reading this review on an example of disruptive technology. An iPhone or other smartphone. An iPad or a notebook computer. Or simply a laptop. Every one of these devices turned its industry upside down when it was introduced, driving established companies to the brink of insolvency, or even into oblivion, and paving the way for new actors to enter the landscape.

Today, almost instinctively, we understand the concept of disruptive technology. But it wasn’t until after the publi
Rod Dunsmore
Oct 07, 2007 Rod Dunsmore rated it it was amazing
This is a great book on innovation and how start-up and entrepreneurs ought to fashion their company to go against entrenched incumbents.

The gist of the book is an interesting trend the author found when analyzing the industry. He found that certain innovations were "disruptive" -- meaning they changed the way a market worked, and some were "sustaining" -- meaning they were really just improvements on existing products.

The author traces disruptive innovations through the steel industry, where it
Nico Macdonald
This is one of the best books on innovation in the last 20 years. I read it in 2000 and still refer to it. Christensen's core insight/argument is that businesses fight shy of developing innovations that will 1: produce limit profits initially; 2: cannibalise core, high cashflow/profit lines. But that what look like niche technologies - Winchester drives, hydraulic backhoes, etc - improve in capability, reliability and reduce in price to the point that they entirely cannibalise the existing marke ...more
Nelson Zagalo
Jun 15, 2013 Nelson Zagalo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, but a bit disappointing because totally centred upon business managing. I would like to see the discussion occurring at a lower level, the creative moment, before management decisions. Leave here the five principles stated by Clayton in the book. I generally agree with all of them, being the fifth one the most subjective.

"Principle #1: Companies Depend on Customers and Investors for Resources

Principle #2: Small Markets Don’t Solve the Growth Needs of Large Companies

Principle #3: Mar
Nov 08, 2015 Martti rated it it was amazing
Clayton M. Christensen writes clearly and analytically, with lot's of examples and research, pleasure to read. Thoughts so logical you wonder how the managers/CXO's he talks about didn't figure this out by themselves already yesterday. A thought provoking read no doubt, even for those not in executive positions.

It's not a 100%, but gets some future predictions right - fun to discover them 18 years later. And it's also interesting to use the frameworks described to think about new technologies th
Jeff Yoak
This is one of those books that becomes an instant classic. Everyone talks about it until you think you know most of what it has to say without reading it shortly after it comes out. You can barely carry on a conversation about technology without someone using the term "disruptive." It deserves that reception and as with most cases, there is much more to gain by reading the book than just the popular representation.

The book defined disruptive technologies vs. sustaining technologies and addresse
Calsee Robb
Sep 30, 2009 Calsee Robb rated it it was ok
This book was on my list of "Books I should read" for a long time. Maybe this is why it was so disappointing, or maybe I've just read too many modern case studies of business models to find this engaging. It was interesting to read about the origins of many terms that I take for granted (i.e. disruptive technology), but I couldn't really relate any of the examples or theory beyond anything that's already been mentioned by other more recent authors. And its hard for a 20-something to relate to th ...more
The Thousander Club
Jul 28, 2016 The Thousander Club rated it really liked it
I've written before I'm not a big fan of many business books because many authors "intentionally or unintentionally, [attempt] to make [their] book some kind of new scriptural canon, demanding of our attention year after year." The Innovator's Dilemma is a different book altogether; it's MBA territory and not meant for readers who enjoy a quick but mostly superficial exploration at self-help techniques. Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma is a challenging and enlightening book, which p ...more
Dec 12, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that so many people mention/name drop that I just had to read it to see what it was all about. (Next on the list: Game of Thrones). It was well worth the read.

In the Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen argues that in some cases the reason why good, solid companies fail to stay ahead of the competition is not because they are incompetent, but because their structures/ processes/ incentives are all geared towards managing "sustaining technological change", as opposed to "di
May 18, 2010 Glen rated it really liked it
Shelves: mohrcollab
Notes from Clayton Christenson, The Innovator’s Dilemma

It pays to be a leader in a disruptive innovation
• Leadership in sustaining innovations gives little advantage
• Leadership in disruptive innovation creates enormous value

But established companies typically fail in the face of disruptive change
• Companies get organized to satisfy current customer’s needs and to facilitate design and production of current products. This organization can then prevent the organization most conducive to developin
Chris Johnson
May 19, 2013 Chris Johnson rated it really liked it
So, the information, the ideas would make this a five star book. It's a way of thinking that helps ward off obsolescence, a way of thinking that gets people to understand where future disruption may come from. The whole idea: that good management (like, truely good) eventually leads to poor decisions is fascinating.

The example: If current customers demand "faster horsers" companies rightly put their energy into faster horses. What the customer says and wants isn't necessarily what's good for the
Bonnie Atkinson
Jun 16, 2011 Bonnie Atkinson rated it liked it
Well, this is a mixed bag, this interesting little book. The observations are prescient but the presentation is abominable. I'm sure for those who demand an exhaustive regurgitation of every step in an analysis, it is useful, but I felt that most of the book could have been the research appendices. On the other hand, the conclusions drawn were incisive and incredibly useful. It would have worked well if it had been presented as a research paper with a 10-page abstract. As a practitioner, I could ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Leticia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Although I wonder whether my copy was complete - it seemed quite short - this is a powerful and important work for anyone in business.

Christensen, in this version of The Innovator's Dilemma demonstrates why great firms fail when new technologies come along. The spoiler is that it's because great firms (those with great teams, excellent management, etc) are not actually driven by the company. They're driven by customer demand. Customers (and stakeholders) are those who cause things to happen insi
Dec 07, 2015 Tirath rated it it was amazing
A classic - although enlightening, its a bit of a man with the hammer syndrome kinda book.
Is definitely a must read for all students of strategy, business, investments...

The crux is: One may do everything according to the signals of technology, market demand, customer feedback etc, and still fail.
Technological changes are very difficult to keep up with. More than thought.
It is extremely difficult for a corporation to change - one may keep assuming that the company is capable of innovating or ada
Traian Stancescu
Dec 24, 2015 Traian Stancescu rated it liked it
Good book dating back from the 90s. The author's theory should be known by anyone in a position to make strategic decisions. To be honest I was skeptical at first about his ideas, but they quickly became obvious as more and more cases were presented.

Taking away one star for being superfluous -- half of the book comprises the same few takeaways that are repeated over and over again in the introduction, conclusion, and in between each case study.

Taking away one more star for choosing a misleading
Aug 21, 2011 Jeric rated it it was ok
Shelves: put-down
I don't read many books, but for some reason this one was a bit of a let down especially after all the fascinating reviews. For me it read like a textbook written by an engineer. With so much business/industry vernacular as interesting and ground breaking the content may be, it was boring and a struggle to read.

I'll try again another time, maybe when I'm in a more analytical mood.
Oksana Hoshva
Aug 25, 2014 Oksana Hoshva rated it liked it
Shelves: it-innovations
It’s been over a year since I got really passionate about learning more about the disruptive innovation after dealing with it on daily basis as a consumer or just simply as a human being. I bought a book ages ago and it was waiting in a line for quite a while. I prefer articles to books I must admit, but felt like I really need to read the book said to be the mandatory theoretical background for entrepreneurs in all domains.

It was a hard and a dry read for me I must confess. First, due to acade
Kumar Ishan
Apr 20, 2014 Kumar Ishan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
Traditional thinking that good decision making, right management skills and listening to customer has led many firms to failure, at the onset of disruptive innovation.

The book with its many examples across industries, presents what is innovator's dilemma and why they fail. It explains why the very nature of disruptive innovation and its proclivity to succeed in emerging market (only), cripples large firm even with their immense resources and expertise.

The book also provides the solution, based o
Jan 05, 2014 Honza rated it it was amazing
In my opinion mandatory theoretical background for entrepreneurs in all domains. Professor Christensen proposes a catchy theory (backed by solid evidence) that innovation in existing companies is not enough when pursued only to get greater sells/better margins. He says that there is a second type of innovation that, if left unnoticed by big companies, can lead them to failure. This second type of innovation also creates market place for smaller companies for which smaller profits are good enough ...more
Ben Haley
Apr 16, 2010 Ben Haley rated it liked it
Good argument, highly redundant.

The central argument is that companies miss important new markets because they are structured to serve the needs of their most profitable customers where new 'disruptive' technologies often emerge from smaller markets who's customers needs are quite different. Eventually the smaller market catches up to the demands of the profitable customers and by that time has developed an insurmountable lead in the utility that its original customers demanded.

The prime example
Jun 19, 2009 Nicholas rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, management
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmed Korayem
Aug 27, 2013 Ahmed Korayem rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
This book is disruptive for my own perception about business books !!! The concept of disruptive technologies is thoroughly explained with a lot of proofs, the root cause of the phenomenon is accurately identified with very insightful guidelines on how to overcome the disruptive technology challenge.

The book addresses managers in large corporations that are used to excel in managing their organization for high profitability and market leadership to tell them that what you used to do very well is
Jan 03, 2014 Ilia rated it it was amazing
Biggest question is - how do you figure out something is a "disruptive" technology, not just a fringe/inefficient one. Only somewhat answered by the book - a lot of gut feel goes into that one I guess.

In a way, a tech is disruptive if after building a startup or division around it, you can find a segment of the market that's growing at a fast enough rate to fuel more innovation in this technology, until the new market starts to get big enough to rival the original market. Or if your competitors
Eduardo Ferro
Dec 13, 2015 Eduardo Ferro rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Interesting book that highlights the importance of "growth/experimentation" mindset for creating products/services in a very fast changing environment.

It is part of the base of other books as "The Lean Startup" from Eric Ries.

It explains very clearly the difference between incremental improvements to a product and disruptive products or technology. Giving real examples and explaining the different approaches we can use to create disruptive products from diferent points of view (economic, managem
Alaeddin Hallak
Well-run companies fail in the face of disruptive technologies because their management policies disincentivize investment in unknown markets. This leaves them vulnerable to attacks from these unknown markets. Thus, to survive and grow, established companies must know when not to use traditionally approved practices.
Sandeep Bhasin
Mar 02, 2015 Sandeep Bhasin rated it it was ok
The book is built only on one example which, if you are not a tech freak, will find it quite off-the-mark. I would have loved the book if the author had used practicality of theories on different industries. You can easily avoid this book as I feel the book does not substantiate what it promises.
Reuben Rail
Nov 14, 2010 Reuben Rail rated it really liked it
"We are all facing the dilemma of succeeding in business and being aware of disruptive innovation in one form or another.

This is a powerful book with a paradoxical premise: that the very nature of success sows the seeds of destruction.

Christensen leads with some great case studies of how 'the mighty have fallen'; not because they were doing anything wrong, but specifically because they were doing things 'right'. They were using the best management and business practices, and they still fell pr
Дмитро Булах
Mar 24, 2015 Дмитро Булах rated it it was amazing
... and in the end you will get an extremely strong model to explain the modern world of corporation, products and markets. Like never before.
Apr 14, 2013 Kirill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty dry, but much more substantial than other innovation books I've read. Could have been about a third as long, but that said: the entire content of "The Lean Startup" is just one of the chapters, in context, of this book. The central notion here is that efficiency and planning are only possible in businesses that improve on the same metric many predecessors have; those that change the metric of success, or problem solved by the business, have no history to inform their future. The latter ty ...more
Nov 26, 2015 Sunita rated it liked it
Good book. Just one central idea seems to be repeated several times - point taken!
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FULL Creative Lib...: The Innovator's Dilemma 1 4 Mar 05, 2014 02:38PM  
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Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.

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“Disruptive technologies typically enable new markets to emerge.” 8 likes
“The reason is that good management itself was the root cause. Managers played the game the way it was supposed to be played. The very decision-making and resource-allocation processes that are key to the success of established companies are the very processes that reject disruptive technologies: listening carefully to customers; tracking competitors’ actions carefully; and investing resources to design and build higher-performance, higher-quality products that will yield greater profit. These are the reasons why great firms stumbled or failed when confronted with disruptive technological change.” 6 likes
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