Clayton M. Christensen, interviewed by Karen Dillon
Clayton M. Christensen’s Theory of Disruptive Innovation has had an undeniable impact in business over the past two decades. In this Q&A with longtime collaborator Karen Dillon, Christensen discussed the impact of disruption in today’s tech-centric world and why the theory is still such a powerful tool for decision-making, even as it continues to evolve.
Rita Gunther McGrath
The Theory of Disruptive Innovation presciently explained that fast-moving disrupters entering the market with cheap, low-quality goods could undermine companies wed to prevailing beliefs about competitive advantage. In the past decade, however, disrupters have changed dramatically. They now enter the market with products and services that are every bit as good as those offered by legacy companies — and make it harder than ever for traditional businesses to compete.
Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani
Collisions between innovators and established players are forcing leaders of existing companies to reexamine how they do business in settings where new players follow radically different rules. For many, making small or incremental changes won’t be enough. They will need to fundamentally alter their operating models, including how they gather and respond to information and how they interact with their customers.
Rather than single-mindedly heading down the path of would-be disrupter, new entrepreneurial companies can and should evaluate the trade-offs between disruption and other strategies. Doing so allows them to choose a strategy that is right for that startup, in that market, at that time, and to learn as the company commercializes its idea. To disrupt or not to disrupt? That is a very important question.
Michael A. Cusumano, David B. Yoffie, and Annabelle Gawer
Innovation and transaction platforms have enabled nearly every type of exchange and activity imaginable in today’s world, earning some of the companies that own them valuations in excess of $1 trillion. But while successful platforms yield a powerful competitive advantage with financial results to match, the nature of platforms is changing, as are the ecosystems and technologies that drive them and the challenges and rules associated with managing them.