Innovation Thinking with Christensen

In my opinion Clayton Christensen offers truly insightful ideas on innovation and management. He presents the rare management advice that is not only good but also new – an incredibly rare combination. The current issue of Business Week includes an interview with him: Clayton Christensen’s Innovation Brain:

Yes. The problem is when you say “listen to your customers,” your customers are only going to lead you in a direction that they want to go in. Generally, that will never lead you to disruptive growth. You’ve got to find that new set of customers, and listen to them and follow them. That’s the trick. Once you have customers, they hold you captive to their needs.

It’s hard for me to see what will disrupt Google. I think they’ve got a pretty good run ahead of them.

While some of Christensen’s ideas are new he also builds on existing ideas. The idea on customer focus being a potential trap was discussed by Deming a great deal. Interesting point on Google, I must agree, though it makes me nervous to think that way: it is easier to mess up success than to fix a mess. I will be interested to read his ideas on the health care system.

Related: Six Keys to Building New Markets by Unleashing Disruptive InnovationManagement Improvement Leadersarticles by ChristensenThe Innovators SolutionWhat Job Does Your Product Do?

New Economics, by W. Edwards Deming, page 7:

Does the customer invent new product of service? The customer generates nothing. No customer asked for electric lights… No customer asked for photography… No customer asked for an automobile… No customer asked for an integrated circuit.

3 thoughts on “Innovation Thinking with Christensen

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