Customer Reviews


57 Reviews
5 star:
 (40)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read about troubles in new markets
To summarize the book is easy - it presents a simple and coherent view and model to explain why large companies must change tactics when confronted with new technologies. In essence a simple, clear and perhaps self-evident message: Large corporations must work differently in new markets, as opposed to improving the offering to it's existing market. It gives some ideas...
Published on 20 Nov. 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A useful read but not a business model
A well known and much touted book that has driven a significant mindset of 'disruption' and 'innovation' as the only way for a company to follow. An interesting read but you can't help feeling some of the examples have been selected to prove his point rather than present a complete picture.
Jill Lepore recently published a review stating "Disruptive innovation as...
Published 10 months ago by P. Filcek


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read about troubles in new markets, 20 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
To summarize the book is easy - it presents a simple and coherent view and model to explain why large companies must change tactics when confronted with new technologies. In essence a simple, clear and perhaps self-evident message: Large corporations must work differently in new markets, as opposed to improving the offering to it's existing market. It gives some ideas about why this is so: Internal funding goes to large projects than can afffect this or next years sales, initially small markets will not satisify a large company's need for short term growth, by definition new markets cannot be adequately researched and planned for etc. The big problem I have with the book is unfortunately the factual basis for most theories, Mr. Christensen uses the hard drive industry as prime example, because it happens to have the best data available. I find this similar to the story about the person looking for a lost key below a street light, and when asked how the key was lost answered "It was lost over there in the dark, but it is much easier to look here in the light". The successive generation of smaller and smaller hard drives seem too trivial an example industry for the general theory. Fortunately there are some less researched cases used as examples as well, and they do illustrate the points quite well. Personally I do agree with the author's conclusions - I just don't think that they are academically proven by using the hard disk industry as an example. Just to make it easy - why is it that Intel is still going strong in processors; it seems a pretty similar industry with at least as fast generation shifts? Finally the book is slight overweight for the rather lightweight message, but it is an easy read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cogent analysis of the origin and impact of new technology, 14 May 1999
By A Customer
This recognised classic can be read in many ways.
In one sense, it makes a general point about the introduction of new technologies. It's certainly true that a new technology will often appeal to price- , convenience- or reliability- concious markets, before it performs well enough to enter mainstream applications. The Internet itself is an example of this kind of "disruptive" technology (cf Papow's Enterprise.com).
Yet the book does more than make this point. It also analyses the effects of the arrival of new technology in several very different markets, and looks at how incumbents and new entrants responded. As one reads these vivid stories, impeccably researched, one can picture marketing departments scrambling, and CEOs evaluating their stock options.
The narration of Honda's entry into the American motorbike market, familiar to any MBA student, is given an added twist, based on the perspectives of the people who did it. It is almost worth buying the book just for that story.
Where it doesn't succeed so well - though it makes a valiant attempt - is in suggesting how companies might respond to the threat of cross-over technologies. This area might be helpfully expanded in future editions.
Nevertheless, a must-read for anyone serious about modern business.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disruptive technologies create a threat to large companies, 4 Feb. 2002
By 
Coert Visser "solutionfocusedchange.com" (Driebergen Netherlands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a book is about successful, well-led companies -often market leaders- that carefully pay attention to what customers need and that invest heavily in new technologies, but still loose their market leadership suddenly. This can happen when disruptive technologies enter the stage. Most technologies improve the performance of existing products in relation to the criteria which existing customers have always used. These technologies are called sustaining technologies. Disruptive technologies do something different. They create an entirely new value proposition. They improve the performance of the product in relation to new performance criteria. Products which are based on disruptive technologies are often smaller, cheaper, simpler, and easier to use. However, the moment they are introduced, they can not at once compete against the traditional products and so they cannot directly reach a big market. Christensen researched how disruptive technologies have developed in the computer disk industry, an extremely rapid evolving industry. He identified six steps in the emergence of disruptive technologies:
1. Disruptive technologies often are invented in traditional large companies. Example: at Seagate Technology, the biggest producer of 5,25 disks, engineers in 1985 designed the first 3,5 disk.
2. The marketing department examines first reactions from important customers to the new technology. Then they notice that existing customers are not very interested and they conclude that not a lot of money can be made with the new product. Example: this is what happened at Seagate. The 3,5 disk's were put upon the shelf.
3. The company keeps on investing in the traditional technology. Performance improvement of the traditional technology is highly appreciated by existing customers and a lot of money is being made. Example: Seagate invested in the 5,25 disk technology. This led to considerable improvement of the technology and to a considerable improvement of sales.
4. New companies are started up (by ex-employees of the traditional companies) and markets for the new technology emerge by trial and error. Example: ex-Seagate people started up Corner Peripherals. This company focused on the small emerging market for 3,5 inch disks. In the beginning this was only for the laptop market.
5. The new players move up in the market. The performance of the new technologies gets better after some time, enabling them to compete better and better with the traditional companies and products. Example: the performance of the 3,5 disks improved drastically. The 3,5 inch disk moved up in the market, to the personal computer market. Corner pushed Seagate out of the PC market for 3,5 inch disk drives.
6. Traditional companies try to defend their market position and to get along in the new market. Often they notice that they have fallen behind so far, that they cannot keep up. Example: Seagate did not succeed in capturing a significant part of the new market for 3,5 inch disk drives for PC's.
The events described above can be understood by the four principles of disruptive technologies which Christensen formulates:
1. In well-led companies it is customers, not managers, who actually determine resources allocation. This is a proposition of the resources dependence theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) which is supported strongly by the research of Christensen. In essence: middle managers will not tend to invest in technologies that are not directly appreciated by important (large) clients, because they will not be able to get quick financial gains by doing this.
2. Small markets can not fulfil the growth need of large companies. For several reasons, growth is important for companies. Unfortunately, the bigger the company, the harder it is to continue growth. A small company (40 million sales) with a growth target of 20%, must achieve 8 million extra sales. A large company (4 billion sales), has to achieve 800 million of extra sales! Emerging markets often simply are not large enough to fulfil such growth needs. They can, however, fulfil the growth needs of new small companies.
3. Markets that do not exist can not be analysed. The ultimate applications of disruptive technologies can not be foreseen on forehand. Failure is an intrinsic unavoidable step to success.
4. Technology supply does not always equal the market demand. The speed of technological progress is often bigger than the speed with which the customer demand develops. By improving the performance of the disruptive technologies (for instance the 3,5 inch disks, first only used in the laptop market), they became suitable for the larger PC-market.
These steps explain why traditional companies are often not capable of applying disruptive technologies. Christensen argues that you can not resist these four principles. What you can do however, is use them to your advantage. For instance: in a large company you can create an 'island' where the new technology is developed for the new market. Also it is possible get an ownership in emerging companies which develop the new technologies (several companies have done this successfully).
I think the innovator's Dilemma is an excellent book. The ideas are empirically foudend and together they form a coherent theoretical framework. The examples from the computer disk industry, the steel industry and others, are very well-documented and interesting. The book is logically structured and reads easily.
Coert Visser
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a nice Theory, 13 July 2004
By 
Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Not quite as easy to read as I would have liked. Christensen describes some very interesting & plausible theories, but is somewhat confined into employing the computer disk industry as the rapidly changing example which both demonstrates & proves his theories, and its not necessarily the most exciting case material. Other products only get a minor look-in.
What I did like is how he covers the footnotes at the end of each Chapter - so if they don't interest you, you can skip over them, but if they do interest you, then you don't have to struggle to the back of the book. I wish more authors & publishers would use that technique.
One quibble - given his Economics background - of course there are plenty of graphs, and 99% of them are straight lines - there are no time dependent variances in his world.
Read this before you read the Innovators Solution.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis of growing industries and opportunities, 19 Aug. 1997
By A Customer
This book provides an insightful analysis of growth opportunities provided by technological breakthroughs. It allows the reader to understand how the capacities that led firms to success may also lead to eventual failure. In addition, it explains why firms often fail to pursue new technologies that do not serve their immediate customer base and how that inaction may result in their demise.
The book is lucidly written and provides ample examples to support the hypothesis. It is one of the few business books today that provides new insight into exploiting technological innovation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars stimulating, 20 April 2013
By 
R de Bulat (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book explains the double edged sword of innovation. One the one hand, why large organisations find it hard to tackle the disruptive innovations of new businesses and why leaders of new markets, having grown large on innovation, succumb to the next new thing, especially in technology. Christensen tackles the problems and offers some solutions, but I was particularly interested in the book from the point of view of a small business owner trying to compete with larger and richer organisations in my field of work. From my perspective, this book is encouraging and useful as a guide to how being small and flexible, especially in times of change, it is possible to enter new markets, providing services that larger organisations cannot replicate, or have no interest in replicating due to low profit margins. The book is squarely aimed at managers in large organisations, rather than small business, so it is not a straightforward process of reading it for great business advice, but I found it stimulating and informative - well researched and supported by data evidence and case studies. I am sure that it is useful for anyone studying business management, but it may just help the little guy find a way to take on the bigger organisations and win.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent contribution to thought on innovation strategy, 11 Oct. 1997
By A Customer
I loved this book because it challenges conventional management cliches about "customer focus". Christensen clearly outlines how customer focus becomes a trap when a firm is faced with a "disruptive technology". The book offers both theory and practical advice and does both well; a rare feat. I found this book directly relevant to my own organization's innovation strategy. A superb piece of work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting theories which can be applied, 27 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The author makes a number of important points, two of which stood out for me:

1. The distinction between a product being the best it can be and what a customer actually needs from it. There are numerous examples given of where the technical specifications of products such as disk drives improved far beyond what customers needed. Beyond a certain point customers weren't prepared to pay much extra for further advancements. The result was commoditised pricing.

2. The distinction between what you are good at making and what the market wants. A good example was the manufacturers of cable excavators not understanding how small building contractors worked, and thus continuing to produce what they could, not what the market increasingly wanted. The result was that they almost all went out of business.

If you run or own a business, this is a useful book to read. It doesn't have to run a manufacturing business - my firm does software services, and yet there are still relevant lessons in this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book about the innovation, 17 Aug. 2011
By 
A. Aleksandre - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book exceeded my expectations, mainly for the following reasons:

1. It shows innovation from the different angle, making you realize, how innovation is actually born (it's contrary to the common stereotype of crazy geeks inventing next big thing in a basement), why big companies fail (even when answer to their problems seem obvious) and how to avoid the fate of some big companies that became victims of so called "disruptive innovation".

2. For managerial book this is surprisingly easy to read (assuming one has some general knowledge on the topic), illustrations, charts and tables are well integrated and explained in the text (which is rare from my experience. Book has very logical flow and does not leave you with the feeling that one simple message is just spread over 300 pages, repeating over and over again. The latter is contributing to the readability a lot, since it always making you want to know "what happens next".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaping Over the Barriers You Create Against Innovation, 31 July 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This book clearly deserves more than five stars. It has positively influenced more technology executives than any other book.
The book does a wonderful job of explaining how traditions, bureaucracy, disbelief about the potential of new technologies, and misconceptions about the market hurt companies. Professor Christensen is a Boston Consulting Group alum, as am I, and that firm has been very interested in the question of why dominant firms lose out to new entrants featuring innovative technologies. Professor Christensen has written the best work on this subject that it has been my pleasure to read. Unlike most academics, he is rigorous without being dull or irrelevant to those who must operate businesses. I particularly found his exploration of the differences between a sustaining and a disruptive technology to be very useful. His insights into how accounting and financial concerns can "stall" organizational progress were also valuable.
His cases (especially the hard disk ones) accurately capture many of the classic "stalls" that delay organizational progress. For example, tradition says that everyone focuses on serving the current customers. That's where the bread and butter are. Also, the overhead structure is established to serve those current needs.
Both perspectives no longer serve when a disruptive technology is involved, and he persuasively argues that being first with disruptive technologies is usually very important.
Bureaucracy comes into play because the authorization process requires a lot of confidence by those who will bet their careers that the market and financial projections will be achieved. The bureaucracy also increases the likelihood that an error will be made, or an unnecessary delay will occur.
Disbelief comes from the tendency to misdefine who the customers will be and to underestimate the long-term potential of the technology. Professor Christensen puts in some nice technology development/time charts in to show how to better anticipate a new technology expanding from a lower need-defined market into the mainstream market.
Misconception comes in because people misunderstand the danger of the disruptive technology, and how to manage it. THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA is very hepful here because it provides a model of best practices to cure the misconception stall here.
Three other stalls are often important: Procrastination (delaying when delay is costly); Ugly Ducklings (avoiding what is unattractive, physically or financially); and Communications (not getting the message or not understanding the message). I suspect all 3 play a big role in the cases here, but I could not tell from the way the cases were written. I hope in his future work, Professor Christensen will also tie his thinking into the idea of innovation itself.
I personally favor an 8 step process for improving innovation. One, measure everything you can in an area to understand how the measurements can help you improve. Two, apply the same approach to your most important activities. Be sure to consider how and why noncustomers do not find your offerings appealing. Three, seek out the best practices in other industries in these important activities, and estimate where these best practices will be in five years. Four, assemble a new combination of best practices from these cases that goes beyond what any one company will be doing in five years. Five, imagine the best that anyone will ever be able to do, ever, as the ideal best practice. In the case of disruptive technologies this would involve spotting them well in advance and being able to pursue them without pain to the rest of the organization, and pursuing very rapid adoption that leads to dominating the new marketplace. Six, find ways to approach the ideal best practice. Seventh, put the best people, resources, and incentives together to create great success in exceeding the future best practice and approaching the ideal best practice. Eight, repeat steps one through seven.
Do buy, read, and apply the lessons of THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA. This is pure gold. Also, send Professor Christensen a friendly note to encourage him to do more studies like this one on innovation. He deserves our support.
I also suggest that you set up some skunk works to advance potentially disruptive technologies, as a way to develop more experience in improving your innovative potential. You may also wish to study Cisco's attempt to be technology agnostics, to see what you can learn from their experience as well.
Let innovation reign supreme!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change)
£19.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews