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

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  23,486 Ratings  ·  654 Reviews
“Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.”
—Michael R. Bloomberg

“This book ought to chill any executive who feels bulletproof —and inspire entrepreneurs aiming their guns.”

The Innovator’s Dilemma is the revolutionary business book that has forever changed corpora
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by HarperBusiness (first published 1997)
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Mal Warwick
Nov 26, 2013 Mal Warwick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 10, 2015 Martti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 18, 2010 Glen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 19, 2009 Calsee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Chris Johnson
Nov 20, 2011 Chris Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 21, 2011 Jeric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 17, 2016 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ideas are astounding - a must read, however, the book is quite dense. There is a ton of research behind everything, but the presentation can be a bit redundant/overwhelming.

Definitely worth the read - but don't be afraid to skim sections once you've gotten the point.
Jul 17, 2013 Jill rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2009 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, management
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Ben Haley
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
Jan 28, 2012 Ilia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ankur Gupta
Jun 25, 2014 Ankur Gupta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had expected the book to be about the challenges for an innovator entering a new market. But to my utter surprise, it was about the dilemma face by established innovative companies in the market.

The key takeaway is the difference between a radical and a disruptive innovation. Most people confuse the two. Moreover, it also demonstrates that the leading cause of failure of established firms to disruptive innovations is not poor management. These firms had excellent managers, sound financial poli
Jan 05, 2014 Honza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ahmed Korayem
Mar 09, 2013 Ahmed Korayem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oksana Hoshva
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
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Some very interesting insights into the distinction between disruptive and sustainable technologies.

You always think that the big companies can just throw money at a problem, but that is clearly not the case. You sometimes need to give some of your share away, to enable you to at least keep a part of what you had.

The part I did find quite fascinating, is (view spoiler)
André Bueno
Disruptive technologies or innovations upset the existing “order of things”. The process appeals to customers who are not served by the current market. With time, because the capacity/performance of the innovation exceeds the market’s needs, the innovation comes to displace the market leaders.

Market leaders generally don’t react until it’s too late, because they don’t represent an interesting market, being low end and often low cost. One successful strategy might be to hive off a separ
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
Dec 07, 2015 Tirath rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Eduardo Ferro
Oct 08, 2015 Eduardo Ferro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Reuben Rail
Nov 14, 2010 Reuben Rail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Connor Wood
I'm not much of an Econ or business guru, but it sounded pretty legit to me. Lots of ideas, some of them interesting.
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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.

More about Clayton M. Christensen...

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“Disruptive technologies typically enable new markets to emerge.” 8 likes
“In contrast, investing time and energy in your relationship with your spouse and children typically doesn’t offer that same immediate sense of achievement. Kids misbehave every day. It’s really not until 20 years down the road that you can put your hands on your hips and say, “I raised a good son or a good daughter.” You can neglect your relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis, it doesn’t seem as if things are deteriorating. People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers—even though intimate and loving relationships with their families are the most powerful and enduring source of happiness.” 5 likes
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