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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2001

Clay Christensen

In this interview, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma reviews his theory of how businesses are affected by disruptive technology. Most business leaders are aware of…

Abstract

In this interview, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma reviews his theory of how businesses are affected by disruptive technology. Most business leaders are aware of sustaining technologies, which can be simple incremental improvements or radical, up‐market technology innovations that leap‐frog ahead of the competition. However, they tend to ignore disruptive technologies, which initially provide neither a better product nor acceptable margins. By ignoring disruptive technology, companies forfeit the opportunity to ensure long‐term growth and prosperity. Business leaders must help their organizations develop new business models that utilize the disruptive technologies if they are to survive and evolve over time.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2005

Daniel J. Knight

Interviews Professor Clayton Christensen, who has authored or co‐authored three groundbreaking books that together frame the daunting problems that managers must confront

Abstract

Purpose

Interviews Professor Clayton Christensen, who has authored or co‐authored three groundbreaking books that together frame the daunting problems that managers must confront when they lead innovation initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

Strategy & Leadership contributing editor, Dan Knight, asked Christensen about the finding of his research and its implications for managers.

Findings

Most managers are not familiar with Christensen's contention that leading companies fail after only a few decades at the head of the pack because they rely on two conventionally accepted concepts: listen to your best customers and focus investments on the products with high profit margins. Companies that pay exclusive attention to their current top customers and ignore the first minute signals of disruptive forces emerging in their market will not adopt innovation that will make them successful long‐term.

Research limitations/implications

Christensen alludes to his research methodology and suggest that it is superior to that of most observers of the innovation process. A comparative study would be valuable.

Practical implications

Christensen suggests that organizations segment their markets by “customer jobs to be done” in order to identify new growth opportunities. He explains why when you are growing, innovation proves to be a lot easier than when you stop growing. Another nugget: “being a serial disrupter means that on a regular and rhythmic basis you launch new disruptive innovations when you don't really need new growth.”

Originality/value

While all of Christensen theories have been explained in his books, many managers are likely still unfamiliar with the many practical implications of his unconventional wisdom. The interview serves as a lucid introduction to ideas like managing disruptive innovation.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Book part
Publication date: 19 October 2020

Mark E. Mendenhall

Hal Gregersen is one of the pioneers of the field of global leadership. Along with J. Stewart Black and Allen Morrison he created one of the early foundational competency…

Abstract

Hal Gregersen is one of the pioneers of the field of global leadership. Along with J. Stewart Black and Allen Morrison he created one of the early foundational competency models in the field that was published in their book, Global Explorers: The Next Generation of Leaders (1999). Since that time, Hal has studied the skills associated with innovative leadership with Clayton Christensen and Jeff Dyer. A good introduction to this research is their award-winning book, The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators (2011). His most recent book, Questions are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life (2018), explores the art of questioning – a skill he argues is critical to leadership productivity. We were curious about Hal's research journey from the study of global leaders to his current research focus – the power of questions – and he graciously agreed to be interviewed for this volume of Advances in Global Leadership. Hal is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Before joining MIT, he taught at INSEAD, London Business School, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Brigham Young University, and in Finland as a Fulbright Fellow.

Details

Advances in Global Leadership
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-592-4

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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Brian Leavy

This masterclass examines how customer-centric marketing, using new perspectives developed by Clayton Christensen and others, can guide new product and service innovation…

Abstract

Purpose

This masterclass examines how customer-centric marketing, using new perspectives developed by Clayton Christensen and others, can guide new product and service innovation. Christensen’s Jobs Theory revolves around the observation that “customers don’t buy products or services,” but rather “pull them into their lives to make progress” in some way that is particularly valuable to them.”

Design/methodology/approach

Two recent books are discussed in detail– Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice (2016), by Christensen and co-authors Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon and David Duncan and Sense & Respond: How Successful Organizations Listen to Customers and Create New Products Continuously (2017) by design and innovation experts, Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

Findings

In coming to view innovation through the lens of Jobs Theory, what you see is not so much the customer at the center of the innovation universe, but “the customer’s Job to Be Done,”which “may seem like a small distinction, but, in reality, “it changes everything.”

Practical Implications

Identifying a well-defined Job to Be Done offers a kind of innovation blueprint which is different’ from the traditional marketing concept of “needs” because of the ‘much higher degree of specificity required to identify precisely what it is you are trying to solve for in particular use-case contexts.

Originality/value

When applied astutely, the concept of “Job to Be Done”can improve a company’s track record at new product or service introduction. For the first time it gives managers and other corporate leaders a guidebook for making innovation initiatives more likely to be successful.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 45 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2020

Brian Leavy

Interview with Mark W. Johnson, Innosight co-founder and former consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton,an authority on the application of disruption theory. ]His latest book…

Abstract

Purpose

Interview with Mark W. Johnson, Innosight co-founder and former consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton,an authority on the application of disruption theory. ]His latest book, Lead From the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth, co-authored with Innosight partner Josh Suskewicz, addresses the challenge of how to strategize for the beyond-the-core breakthrough initiatives which will be key to sustaining future growth.

Design/methodology/approach

His interviewer is Brian Leavy, emeritus professor of strategy at Dublin City University Business School and a Strategy & Leadership contributing editor. The interview focuses on Future-back thinking and a set of allied processes that can help leaders think further out than the three to five years that most set as their planning horizons. Then they can identify the threats and opportunities that await them and envision their best path forward.

Findings

Future-back thinking and planning begins with exploring and envisioning–actively, intensively and imaginatively immersing yourself in your organization’s likely future and then determining what you must do to not only fit into that environment but to actively shape your enterprise to thrive in it.

Practical implications

Future-back thinking is geared to discovery, so it is…what you use when you need to develop a market-creating innovation or new business model to fill a projected gap–to explore, envision and then chart out a new path.

Originality/value

The lesson for leaders: when programming a breakthrough strategy, you need to formalize the roles and responsibilities of the senior leadership team as its champions and overseers, set up an organizational model that will protect those teams from the countervailing influences of the core and ensure that the initiative is managed with an explore, envision and discover approach.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 48 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Stephen Denning

Recently, observers of the battle between incumbents and challengers have turned the field of disruptive innovation theory into contested territory. What strategies work…

Abstract

Purpose

Recently, observers of the battle between incumbents and challengers have turned the field of disruptive innovation theory into contested territory. What strategies work for defenders and attackers?

Design/methodology/approach

For an update the author asked the opinion of the world’s foremost authority, Harvard professor Clayton Christensen.

Findings

According to Christensen, “We discovered that there are three types of innovations, only two of which we had caught in the [original] theory of disruption.

Practical implications

The only permanent way out of the innovator’s dilemma is to change the game being played and adopt a new corporate focus in which innovation is a necessity, not an option.

Originality/value

The article updates and broadens disruption theory. Disruption, as Christensen defines it, is a theory of competitive response.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Abstract

Details

The Catalyst Effect
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-551-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

The purpose of this paper is to discover views of a senior academic, Constantinos Markides, on the limitations of first‐mover advantage and the “fast second” movement in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discover views of a senior academic, Constantinos Markides, on the limitations of first‐mover advantage and the “fast second” movement in radical new markets.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents an interview with Constantinos Markides discussing the limitations of first‐mover advantage and the arguments for the “fast second” movement in radical new markets.

Findings

The interview emphasizes two aspects of innovation, the creation of a product and the creation of a mass market, stressing the crucial importance of timing for fast second movers, and pointing out that potential returns for fast second movers are far greater than for the pioneers of such innovations. It also cites numerous examples of successful fast second movers.

Originality/value

The interview provides insights into the academic's views on the “fast second” movement in radical new markets.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 43 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1998

Audrey Schriefer

If an oracle could predict the next forty years with perfect accuracy, what would you do with the information? As the pace of change in the business environment continues…

Abstract

If an oracle could predict the next forty years with perfect accuracy, what would you do with the information? As the pace of change in the business environment continues to accelerate, confidence in our ability to forecast the future in which we will be operating seems to have gone the way of the fintailed cars and poodle skirts of the '50s.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

Brian Leavy

Managers in developed countries are increasingly interested in outsourcing as a potential source of competitiveness and value creation. There has been a growing awareness…

Abstract

Managers in developed countries are increasingly interested in outsourcing as a potential source of competitiveness and value creation. There has been a growing awareness of the potential of outsourcing to support a range of strategies beyond that of lower cost. This article makes corporate strategists familiar with four of the most promising opportunities for using outsourcing strategies – focus, scale without mass, disruptive innovation and strategic repositioning. While assessing the potential of these opportunities in specific corporate situations, strategists also need to look at two of the most significant associated risks – the risk of losing skills that could be key to competing in the future, and the risk of turning to outsourcing at the wrong stage in an industry’s evolution. The article widens managers’ views of the strategic alternatives that outsourcing can be used to support, while making managers aware of the main risks to be weighed in the balance. Case examples of companies that have successfully attempted the four types of outsourcing are examined.

Details

Strategy & Leadership, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1087-8572

Keywords

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