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Showing 1-10 of 167 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 248 reviews
on September 4, 2015
Attention all future game-changers: If you’re looking to change the world, you can’t follow the world’s rules. This book gives you a blueprint for action.
The Innovator’s Dilemma explains how excellent companies with excellent managers with excellent teams and excellent strategies can do everything right and still fail. The Innovator’s Dilemma also explains how innovators with “disruptive” technologies on the fringes of the mainstream cannot follow the same rules as existing firms.

In driving toward market leadership, existing and disruptive firms must follow separate and distinct paths.

Christensen shows that successful innovation is not unpredictable. This comes with the recognition, however, that “data only exist about the past” and hence what is working in the present for leading firms need not apply to disruptive firms of the future. This paradigm necessarily applies to all companies and is not exclusive to technological ones.

The core value of this book is that it gives specific, actionable strategies on when listening to consumers is dead wrong, when “what has worked before” should be abandoned, and when cost-ineffective strategies should be pursued as opposed to more profitable ones. All of the author’s conclusions are supported by extensive research and thorough market analysis.

Part I is called “Why Great Companies Fail” and its aim is self-explanatory. Part II, the larger chunk of the book, is called “Managing Disruptive Technology Change” and gives practical and real-life advice on how to adapt to innovation and changing market landscapes. The entire book is grounded in historical and contemporary examples so each point that the author makes is illustrated with a case study.

Another benefit of this book is that it is repetitive and the author frequently pauses to recount what has already been said and where he is going. This makes reading isolated sections of the book very easy without having to rely on other parts for clarity. Also, although the book is aimed at those in the business world, it is extremely easy to read and understandable from a non-business perspective. Furthermore, in order to get the “main idea” one could just read the Preface and Chapter 11 (Summary) to extract the essential points of the text. In the end, The Innovator’s Dilemma is a business classic for a reason, and no entrepreneur, founder of a startup, innovator, businessperson—or anyone who thinks there is a better way to do things—should be without it.
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on April 18, 2012
Clayton M. Christensen is a professor at the Harvard Business School. In the Innovator's Dilemma, he presents his research into business life cycles and how larger companies find it difficult to innovate. He shows how these larger companies eventually are replaced by innovators who make inroads by taking the bottom markets willing ceded to them by the bigger companies. Little by little, the smaller companies eat away until they have market dominance themselves, leaving the once market leader without a place to go.

The concept of how small companies can thrive in a world dominated by large companies is an interesting one, especially for the entrepreneurs facing Goliath. Christensen lays out several test cases where the larger company couldn't innovate, allowing smaller companies to enter at the bottom of the market. He even shows how and why it made sense for the management of these dominant companies to allow this to happen - at the time. Innovation is not an easy prospect for large companies because their large existing customer base often will not allow the innovations to move forward because it doesn't fit their needs. Innovations often bring a different customer and large companies are not always able to choose to service both.

Christensen provides a few examples of this phenomena in excruciating detail, studying the rapidly changing industries of disk drives and steel production. He rounds out the book with a discussion of the steam shovel and how it lost out to hydraulics. In a final case study, he examines how the principles could be applied to a potential disruptive technology - the electric car. He lays out a complete game plan for a company to take the innovations available and capture a new market. Sadly, in the years since publication in 1997, it doesn't appear anyone has taken up the challenge, although perhaps Tesla Motors has come the closest.

The problem I have with Christensen's book is his writing style. He is definitely a Harvard Business School professor. He delves deeply into his research, explaining every nuance of the industry in such detail as to leave no doubt he has done an extensive study. I grew up in IT, living just miles away from one of the great innovators of the disk drive industry, yet I learned many things about disk drives. I hadn't imagined I could get a technical education from a book on business management.

Christensen's writing style was the biggest barrier to the material. His explanations were too deeply steeped with details that didn't move the story forward. While the datum was valid and important, it didn't necessarily have to be presented in long, exhaustive detail. Today's readers do not have a lot of time or desire to spend long stretches of deep explanation. I found it necessary to spend at least 45 minutes reading before getting "into" the book. I couldn't help comparing the style to that of Jim Collins in Great by Choice. Yes, Collins is also a researcher who loves detail. The difference is that Collins moves all his detailed explanations to the appendix where those who desire it can find it. The book itself is organized into fast moving, short chapters laying out the salient points distilled from the exhaustive research. I would really have appreciated this approach in this book by Christensen. Collins is a storyteller where Christensen is a Harvard professor.

Christensen's insight is worth the slog through the knee deep data. Just be ready with a canteen for dry stretches of endless detail as far as the eye can see.
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on January 2, 2017
This is not a nail-biter, nor does the author do a good job of keeping you interested. It is dry and tedious. So why do I give it five stars?

Clayton M. Christensen has recognized a major problem in business, that of tapping into disruptive innovation in a successful way, and tells us how to avoid the pitfalls and to leverage it to the advantage of the company. He has plenty of insight and is a big-picture thinker. The book is enlightening and is required reading for any business person that is in a field where innovation is important. By the way, this is a business book, not an inventor's book - as it is not about innovation itself, but is about applying that innovation to your business.

Once you get through the first couple of chapters you will realize how important this book can be and you will want to read the rest of it.
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on December 10, 2016
This is an interesting examination of the first generation of technology innovation by the person who coined the phrase disruptive innovation. However, his updates since then and innovation speak are beyond his or any professorial grasp; it must be expanded upon by hands on experience in the startup world to truly understand the current state of technology and innovation. While a landmark in his time, Clayton Christenson is a bit dated for the today's Internet social media, and now space age, which is explored by Internet billionaire Naveen Jain in his s upcoming book, "Moonshot - The Next Generation of Disruptive Innovation". Christenson has little or no experience founding companies and running startups, so while valuable academically and conceptually, the Innovators Dilemma, will be replaced by such masterpieces as Antonio Garcia Martinez's Chaos Monkeys and Jains aforementioned "Moonshot". These authors take you beyond the original concepts of marketplace disruption, and venture into the reality of a "marketplace Prigogine-esque" chaos theory and its impact on modern startup experimentations.
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on October 25, 2016
Seeing this book on pretty much 100% of my CEO clients' bookshelves got my attention. Having heard many of those CEOs reference the ideas in this book in a variety of settings and scenarios, I was intrigued and bought it. And read it. And then read it again with a highlighter.

This is one of these books that fundamentally articulates and clarifies something that we see repeatedly in business -- why a great companies completely miss the ball with innovation. It's a combination of human nature and market rewards -- success with an innovative product can be the very thing that makes it hard to succeed repeatedly.

I recommend this book for any leader, and any student of business. Truly a classic.
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on January 4, 2016
I regret not having read this book earlier in my career. There is so much insight in this book that seems so obvious, but at the same so difficult for companies to digest or understand that I figured a lot of leaders of companies did not bother to pay attention, since so many companies keep failing at innovation. Actually I think this book should be called "The Incumbent's Dilemma" because the innovator doesn't have a choice but to innovate and find new markets, while incumbents who innovate find themselves displaced even though they seem to be innovating.
The author in his book is careful to lay out his thesis and bit by bit shows how the process of disruption actually occurs. He gives very good examples in various industries to show that the process does not only apply to technology but to other industries and services as well.
One of the other aspects that makes this book great is that regardless of the field you work in, you can find uses of the theory if you're clever enough.
For example, if you're an investor and are looking at various companies to find out which one has the most upside potential for growth, you can look at the technology, or processes at each company and make a more educated decision. The author alleges this use of his theory in the introduction to this new edition. I am curious to learn more about this use of the theory. Overall, this is an intuition-bender, and simply amazing read.
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on September 27, 2016
Good information but I wish I asked someone to read it for me and summarize it in 15min because the author keeps repeating the same idea for the entire book, consuming some potential precious time of the reader.
Basically, you get the whole idea in the first quarter of the book. The 75% left will waste your time if you are very goal oriented and not very patient (2 common traits for leaders)
The development is probably good scholar work (plenty of references, etc.) but personally I don't need the details, I just trust him because nothing seems fool and even controversial.
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on December 12, 2014
I liked the "Innovator's Solution" better, maybe because I read that one first. The two talk about the same thing.

The book's question is: how do startups win against established companies who have more resources to win?

The takeaway is to target a customer segment small enough that bigger competitors would not be interested in, but which you expect to grow in the future. The other option is to do something vastly cheaper than bigger competitors so that they won't economically be able to match the price you offer.
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on May 13, 2015
This is simply one of the best business books ever written. I read it 10 years ago but I probably think about the content and have used it in my discussions once a month since then. I use to give it to my employees but I found that only 1 in 10 would read it. Even today I consider this book so full of valuable insight that now I just keep the knowledge to myself as a competitive advantage.

I dont want to spoil it by giving examples used but If you are in business or planning to go into business then this is one of the 1st books you should buy (hardcover) and put in your library. Alot of business books are rehashed info on stale business practices. This book is like a rich uncle sitting you down and explaining how business really works in plain simple terms.
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on March 26, 2011
I picked up this book after hearing the "innovator's dilemma" alluded to in several interviews by different CEOs. After reading this interesting piece on business strategy, it is no surprise why executive level management teams enjoy quoting this book. Innovator's Dilemma is a thoroughly researched investigation into an age old business phenomenon: How do businesses who were once dominant players in their industry get displaced by smaller, upcoming rivals?

Well documented and lush with real world examples, The Innovator's Dilemma details case studies from a variety of industries where large corporations had the dominant market share and then abruptly lost it to upcoming rivals that seemed to come out of the blue. Did these "good" companies fail because of poor management? Were these companies blindsided because their organizations were too bureaucratic to react to the marketplace? "No", says the The Innovator's Dilemma. Many times, a even when a large corporation follows conventional business school training and "does all the right things", it can still be overcome by a smaller, nimbler newcomer to the market.

Two kinds of marketplace changes are outlined: incremental (sustaining) and disruptive technologies. While the R&D efforts of large companies respond well to incremental changes in technology, they perform poorly against disruptive changes in technology. A disruptive change is when a new technology starts off catering to the needs of a low-end niche market, and then through incremental improvements, becomes a viable contender to the larger dominant players up-market. A host of examples are reviewed to show how this change takes place: the churn of dominant disk drive manufacturers, the shift from cable-based ground excavators to hydraulic excavators, the rise of low-volume high turnover retailers like K-Mart versus the low turnover department store models, the proliferation of small steel manufacturing plants.

This book explores why large corporations are so unequipped to deal with disruptive changes. Surprisingly, they often yield to disruptive changes in their marketplace not because of poor management, but because the goals and objectives of such large corporations causes them to overlook the threat posed by the newcomer. Think of how IBM overlooked the advent of the PC because they had the mindset, "Why would anyone need a personal computer in their home?"

Although written in 2002, changes in the marketplace over the last ten years have only given its ideas confirmation. We have seen the Innovator's Dilemma dynamic play out in Apple's iPhone upsetting the dominant Blackberry, the Kindle replace traditional channels of publishing, and the rise of cloud computing beginning to displace established "big business" ERP companies. The Innovator's Dilemma is an informative and fun read executive teams, marketing managers, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an interest in business strategy.
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