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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.
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on 25 November 2004
This book is excellent, it enlightens you into the dark art of success in a very clear way. The well thought out but complex research that shows us the cause and effect of the many choices that face an Innovator, is well explained in a very accessable mannor - at the end of each chapter your left thinking, "of course" and think you are just going to cruise to the end of the book, but no, the next chapter challenges you to think about somthing new again and again. If your trying to commercialise a new innovation, then read this book, it will be the best thing you ever did.
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on 10 December 2003
Christensen and Raynor argue that growth is not only to be found in sustaining innovation strategies (i.e. incremental improvements made to existing products for a firm's current most profitable customers); but also through disruptive innovation strategies (i.e. seeking out ways of developing, often simpler products targeted at over-served customers, non-consumers, or both).
Christensen and Raynor stress that the challenges facing many CEOs today are managing the two types of innovation strategy simultaneously within the same firm; and being able to resist the forces such as resource allocation criterion that force companies to maintain sustaining innovation strategies in industries that may be displaying signs of imminent disruption.
This book is excellent if you wish to understand the forces that can drive or hinder a firm's growth with numerous real-life examples throughout the text.
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on 30 November 2009
This book is a practical and insightful one. It is easy to read and the ideas shared are food for thought...whilst I did not fully embrace all the perspectives, there are important principles and approaches that can be employed in management and technical planning. Whilst the context of the book is deeply American in nature, you will find it quite useful. In today's market place a firm have to disrupt itself quite often, while building products to satisfy different segment of the market. The innovation process may require us to create the customers around our evolving product. A great book for budding entrepreneurs, managers and executives alike.
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on 10 August 2011
All the stories of disk drive manufacturers missing the big move into 8" formats may seem irrelevant, but it really isn't.

All companies now are reliant on highly volatile IT to maintain their current market share, much as with the examples in this book. It does not take any great leap of imagination to re-populate the scenarios given with today's household names.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2004
This is easier to read than the Innovators Dilemma. There is a more varied range of Product and Industry case studies, which helps to show how broadly this theory can be applied.
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, he suggests that having competing phone standards is not wasteful. Only an Economist would say that. A Consumer finds it frustrating. He has the good grace to suggest in a footnote that some readers might take issue with him, and I am one. He belittles the benefit of schoolgirls from Sweden using their phone on vacation in Spain, but I can vouch that being able to readily check on the safety of my teenage daughters when they're in foreign Countries for over 10% of the year is a definite benefit!
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. Also some silly proof-reading slips, such as a "semi-log" graph being described as "semi- long".
Probably still worth reading the Innovators Dilemma before reading this one, just to get the theory.
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on 25 July 2013
I read this book many years ago. Read it again and loved it. Still very relevant so many years later.
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on 19 March 2005
Six years on from The Innovator's Dilemma this follow up moves on from the examination of the consequences of sustaining vs. disruptive innovations and technological discontinuities to look at how companies are trying to create the disruptions rather than deal with them. This time the authors suggest that innovation is not as unpredictable as it has preciously been thought to be and look wider than the core technical platforms. Examples include Bloomberg, Google, MBNA and Toyota.
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on 25 July 2015
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