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Competing Against Luck

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The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for.

How do companies know how to grow? How can they create products that they are sure customers want to buy? Can innovation be more than a game of hit and miss? Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has the answer. A generation ago, Christensen revolutionized business with his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation. Now, he goes further, offering powerful new insights.

After years of research, Christensen has come to one critical conclusion: our long held maxim—that understanding the customer is the crux of innovation—is wrong. Customers don’t buy products or services; they "hire" them to do a job. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success, he argues. Understanding customer jobs does. The "Jobs to Be Done" approach can be seen in some of the world’s most respected companies and fast-growing startups, including Amazon, Intuit, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt, to name just a few. But this book is not about celebrating these successes—it’s about predicting new ones.

Christensen contends that by understanding what causes customers to "hire" a product or service, any business can improve its innovation track record, creating products that customers not only want to hire, but that they’ll pay premium prices to bring into their lives. Jobs theory offers new hope for growth to companies frustrated by their hit and miss efforts.

This book carefully lays down Christensen’s provocative framework, providing a comprehensive explanation of the theory and why it is predictive, how to use it in the real world—and, most importantly, how not to squander the insights it provides.

288 pages, ebook

First published October 4, 2016

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About the author

Clayton M. Christensen

78 books1,857 followers
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.

Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of eight children. He holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics at Brigham Young University (1975), an M.Phil. in applied econometrics and the economics of less-developed countries at Oxford University (1977, Rhodes Scholar), an MBA with High Distinction at the Harvard Business School (1979, George F. Baker Scholar), and a DBA at the Harvard Business School (1992).

Clay Christensen lives in Belmont, Massachusetts with his five children, wife Christine, and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has served in several leadership positions in the Church. He served as an Area Seventy beginning in April 2002. Prior to that he served as a counselor in the Massachusetts Boston Mission Presidency. He has also served as a bishop. He speaks fluent Korean.

Christensen is currently battling follicular lymphoma.

For further details and an ordered list of the author's works, see the author's Wikipedia page.

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