In the minds of many, the financial crisis has given innovation a black eye. Disruption theorist Clayton Christensen disagrees.
Clayton Christensen is best known for his ideas about how disruptive innovations can transform markets.
In this wide-ranging interview, he discusses topics ranging from the downturn’s effect on innovation to
opportunities to improve the U.S. health care system.
Christensen thinks the economic downturn will be good for innovation, because downturns force
innovators to adapt their strategies to the market quickly and inexpensively. What’s more, he notes that
resource constraints stimulate breakthrough thinking. And, despite the recent problems in the financial
markets, Christensen believes that, overall, innovation has been beneficial in financial services. He cites
historical financial innovations, such as no-load mutual funds and index funds, as examples of the way
disruptive innovations in financial services have benefited consumers. However, he also notes that there
are markets in which regulation is necessary–and the securities industry is one.
Christensen, who is the coauthor of a new book on health care, The Innovator’s Prescription, also
discussed how disruptive innovation might improve the U.S. health care system. He explains how disruptive innovation helps make goods and services inexpensive and accessible.