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The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth Hardcover – September, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma) analyzes the strategies that allow corporations to successfully grow new businesses and outpace the other players in the marketplace. Christensen's earlier book examined how focusing on profits can destroy even well-run corporations, while this book focuses on companies expanding by being "disruptors" who are able to outpace their entrenched competition. The authors (Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and Raynor, a director at Deloitte Research) examine the nine business decisions integral to growth, including product development, organizational structure, financing and key customer base. They cite such companies as IBM, AT&T, Sony, Microsoft and others to illustrate their points. Generally, the writing is clear and specific. For example, in discussing whether a company has the resources necessary for growth, the authors say, "In order to be confident that managers have developed the skills required to succeed at a new assignment, one should examine the sorts of problems they have wrestled with in the past. It is not as important that managers have succeeded with the problem as it is for them to have wrestled with it and developed the skills and intuition for how to meet the challenge successfully the next time around"; they then provide a real-life example of a software company. Similar important strategies give readers insights that they can use in their own workplaces. People looking for quick fixes may find the charts, diagrams and extensive footnotes daunting, but readers familiar with more technical business management tomes will find this one both stimulating and beneficial.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“The process of Low End Disruption is beautifully described in Clayton Christensen’s series of books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution and The Innovator’s DNA. If you haven’t read them, you should. What’s amazing about these books is not only how important their conclusions are but how well researched they are.” — TechCrunch
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; 1 edition (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578518520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578518524
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The first two chapters of this book are so well thought out and beautifully written that reading them literally made my muscles ache and toes curl. I've never had that strong a reaction to any portion of a business book before.
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.
There's so much good material in The Innovator's Solution that it is hard to fairly summarize it.
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. Best practices may be nothing more than an accidental reaction to a temporary situation. 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. It's as though Michael Porter had taken his tomes on competitive advantage and provided a single theory for when to apply what. As such, this is one of the most advanced books for creating management processes for using disruptive technologies and business models to discomfit the competition in profitable ways.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
In a previous work, The Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen examines why so many companies fail to remain competitive "when they confront certain types of market and technological change....the good companies -- the kinds that many managers have admired for years and tried to emulate, the companies known for their abilities to innovate and execute....It is about well-managed companies that have their competitive antennae up, listen astutely to their customers....invest aggressively in new technologies, and yet they still lose market dominance." According to Christensen, the innovator's dilemma occurs when the logical, competent decisions of management which are critical to the success of their companies are also the reasons why they lose their positions of leadership. I wholly agree with Christensen that a given problem must first be fully understood before efforts to solve it are initiated. The challenge is even greater when the given problem poses a dilemma which (in essence) involves a paradox: Whatever has been essential to success can also cause failure. What to do?

In The Innovator's Solution, Christensen and Raynor offer a wealth of strategies and tactics to solve such a dilemma, revealed by their rigorous research on hundreds of different companies. In their book, they summarize "a set of theories that can guide managers who need to grow new businesses with predictable success -- to become disruptors rather than disruptees -- and ultimately kill the well-run, established competitors.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have missed Christensen's "Innovator's Dilemma", go and buy it, as it is a very thoughtful book talking about the problems of innovation and how they manifest itself in large corporations.

"Innovator's solution" is supposed to be a continuation of this work, and a bridge between thoughtful questions and useful answers that supposedly can benefit the innovators. Unfortunately, it is not up to this task.

The book still has it's own merits, mostly in summarizing the opposing forces of commoditization and integration from other literature. There is also a useful quip about competing against non-consumption. Unfortunately, this is not the major part of the volume.

Most of the content is dedicated to Christensen preaching the deterministic laws of success in innovation - and this is exactly where he (like too many predecessors) miserably fails.

The real disappointment is that in his "Innovator's Dilemma", Christensen was careful enough to treat innovation as an unknown and unknowable, treading lightly on the processes and circumstances that may inhibit it. He also focused on the logical, down-to-earth explanation of what disruptive innovation can and cannot be. As a result, his "Dilemma" treatise had only one market prediction (on electric car), which (albeit clearly wrong) was predicated with a non-prophecy statement.

As time went on, however, apparently Dr. Christensen felt he is famous enough to move towards less fuzzy statements. In "Innovator's Solution" he makes no less than half a dozen recommendations for innovations ranging from fast foods to RIM, IBM and Ivy League universities.
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