Innovation in Organizations

Assessing Your Organization’s Innovation Capabilities by Clayton M. Christensen:

Three classes of factors affect what an organization can and cannot do: its resources, its processes, and its values. When asking what sorts of innovations their organizations are and are not likely to be able to implement successfully, managers can learn a lot about capabilities by sorting their answers into these three categories.

Innovation is one of the areas of management improvement that is not given sufficient attention. However, innovation is critical to the success of organizations and to the Deming management philosophy. Deming however, never had much specific advice on how to innovate. The management strategies he proposed do support innovation: truly knowing your customers, constancy of purpose, truly knowing your business, understanding your purpose, etc..

One of the most important findings in the research summarized in The Innovator’s Dilemma relates to the differences in companies’ track records at making effective use of sustaining and disruptive technologies.

I have been reading Clayton Christensen’s books recently and his concepts of managing disruptive technology is very interesting.

Disruptive innovations, on the other hand, bring to market a new product or service that is actually worse along the metrics of performance most valued by mainstream customers. Charles Schwab’s initial entry as a bare-bones discount broker was a disruptive innovation, relative to the offerings of full-service brokers. Early personal computers were a disruptive innovation, relative to mainframes and minicomputers. PCs were disruptive in that they didn’t address the next-generation needs of leading customers in existing markets. They had other attributes, of course, that enabled new market applications to coalesce, however — and from those new applications, the disruptive innovations improved so rapidly that they ultimately could address the needs of customers in the mainstream market as well.

Books by Clayton Christensen:

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