The Innovator’s Dilemma

I finished reading The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen this week. My thoughts in a nutshell: I really enjoyed reading this book.

A good portion of the book looks at the history of the disk drive industry, to compare sustaining versus disruptive developments. No doubt this is one of the reasons I enjoyed reading this book so much. Reading these sections was a trip down memory lane. Other industries were also looked at, but not with as much detail.

Another reason I enjoyed this book is that Christensen clearly took the time and effort to define the issues at hand in simple terms, which goes a long way towards clarifying the issues. Too many times I’ve heard people claim something to be disruptive to an industry, without any real thought as to what qualifies something to be disruptive. And if it isn’t disruptive, what category is it in? That’s where the comparison between sustaining and disruptive come in, and which types of companies are best at leveraging each.

One point that was brought up in a few different places was that of defining what a company can’t do. This is usually in comparison to what a company can do. Paying attention to what you aren’t good at is a hard mind set to develop.

Several times while reading this book I thought about the influence of open source products on the technology landscape. In many cases they are spot on with Christensen’s definition of disruptive. Generally less expensive than existing products. Generally start out with a much smaller set of features. They start off targeting a different group of customers and gradually work their way up the market.

So who would I recommend this book to? Pretty much anyone in business, and those that enjoy business related topics.

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