Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
In Praise of a Disruptive Innovation Theory
on 1 July 2004
The Innovator's Solution builds on Professor Christensen's landmark book, The Innovator's Dilemma, and explains how managers can overcome the bias he described in the earlier book toward being blindsided by new entrants bringing disruptive technology and products to bear.
Let me attempt to give you an overview. The authors point out, based on the studies of others, that few large companies are able to grow faster than average. Worse still for managers, they point out that studies of those few which have grown faster are often contradictory in their findings. The authors go on to create a generalized theory of what needs to be done in every situation that a company may face in creating and responding to disruptive technologies and products.
Appreciating Figure 2-3 on page 44 is worth the price of the book alone. The authors have created a graphic to explain how markets develop in growth and competitive characteristics. No one who ever sees this graphic depiction will ever think about competitive and development strategies in the same way again.
Although the authors use examples from many different industries, the most detailed and compelling examples come from technology based companies and industries. I found the Sony examples particularly interesting for their repeated creation of new markets and business models.
The book beautifully elaborates on the thinking processes that companies use to lose competitive advantage . . . and should help many leaders counter these wrong-headed thoughts and instincts.
Why does the book have so much theory? As the authors candidly point out at the end, there are few models for what they are proposing. Only with experience can we tell how good this theory is. But it's worth understanding and considering.
Don't be put off by the authors' emphasis on theory. They are trying to help make you more practical . . . not more abstract. Think of their theory as being like an operating manual for a new product. You may get better results by having clear instructions rather than relying totally on trial and error.
I was extremely impressed by the gracious and thorough acknowledgments in the book of the thinking and research of others. Even when the authors point out the extreme weaknesses and limitations of a particular piece of work, they praise the positive aspects of that work in kind and thoughtful ways. I cannot remember the last time I read an academic book that took such a considerate approach.
The book's main weakness is that the authors seem to have missed the bulk of the examples of companies that have made continuing business model innovations in the last decade.
After you finish this book, I suggest that you think through how you can inexpensively create a better and more effective balance between creating the industries of the future and optimizing the businesses of today. Your stakeholders will thank you.