clay christensen

clay christensen b&w

known for (among many things): disruptive innovation

disruptive innovation – wikipedia

The current theoretical understanding of disruptive innovation is different from what might be expected by default, an idea that Clayton M. Christensen called the “technology mudslide hypothesis”. This is the simplistic idea that an established firm fails because it doesn’t “keep up technologically” with other firms. In this hypothesis, firms are like climbers scrambling upward on crumbling footing, where it takes constant upward-climbing effort just to stay still, and any break from the effort (such as complacency born of profitability) causes a rapid downhill slide. Christensen and colleagues have shown that this simplistic hypothesis is wrong; it doesn’t model reality. What they have shown is that good firms are usually aware of the innovations, but their business environment does not allow them to pursue them when they first arise, because they are not profitable enough at first and because their development can take scarce resources away from that of sustaining innovations (which are needed to compete against current competition). In Christensen’s terms, a firm’s existing value networks place insufficient value on the disruptive innovation to allow its pursuit by that firm. Meanwhile, start-up firms inhabit different value networks, at least until the day that their disruptive innovation is able to invade the older value network. At that time, the established firm in that network can at best only fend off the market share attack with a me-too entry, for which survival (not thriving) is the only reward.

The work of Christensen and others during the 2000s has addressed the question of what firms can do to avoid oblivion brought on by technological disruption.

book links to amazon
here’s a little insight into the book i’m currently consuming

(2009 post: disrupting class, clay christensen)

“managing innovation successfully has been the primary focus of my research and writing at harvard. i’m a teacher, the husband and son of teachers, but i’m not an “expert” in education. i’vepracticed it for sure, but until we began writing this book, i hadn’tstudied education. nearly a decade ago, however, representatives of a national network of school reformers called education evolving – men such as ted kolderie, joe graba, ron wolk, and curtis johnson who had played pioneering roles in the chartered school movement – visited me with a proposal: “clay, if you’d just stand next to the world of public education and examine it through the lenses of your research on innovation, we bet you could understand more deeply how to improve our schools.” kolderie’s arguments about schools’ institutional capacity for change and graba’s refrain that, “we simply cannot get all the schools we need by trying to fix the ones we have,” compelled me to accept their invitiation……..the harvard business school is an extraordinary place for teachers to learn because in the case method of instruction, the teacher asks the questions and the students do the teaching.clay writes about co-authorship since in his previous book, innovator’s dilemma, he single authored it: for this book i wrote with 2 co-authors because i desperately need colleagues who see things differently from the way i do.and johnson, one of his co-authors writes of the book: we respect the nation’s push for standards and accountability and the effort over the last decade to open up the supply side through chartering laws. but it is a mistake to confuse either the permission to create new school or setting rigorous standards with learning. what matters is what happens in class, whether physical or virtual.

loved for (among many things): humility
from 2010 post: clay christensen on measuring things
fitting.. as we’re so entrenched with measuring things, that this man of such great humility (have you ever heard him talk? – this was when i first started following him) devotes so much of his time talking and writing to things that matter.
today –  my first tweet – from (dang lost it) was on this article in the harvard business review by Christensen: how will you measure your life and book:
p. 2: Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people.
I want students to leave my classroom knowing that.
I apply the tools of econometrics a few times a year, but I apply my knowledge of the purpose of my life every day
Clarity about their purpose will trump knowledge of activity-based costing, balanced scorecards, core competence, disruptive innovation, the four Ps, and the five forces.
The lesson I learned from this is that it’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.
p. 5 on humility:
And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.

i think humility lends itself to being brave enough to be transparent – which is key to getting the social media piece down in learning.. something very key to success – the art of connecting and the art of connecting in a way that is natural to kids – whether or not we think it’s natural to us

innov uni

innovative university – by christensen is now talking about that as well. how to use less resources, need less money..


june 2014 – the disruptive machine – via Nikhil


ChristensenInstitute (@ChristensenInst) tweeted at 6:00 AM – 28 Aug 2018 :

A student’s circumstances shouldn’t define his network. Check out @ChristensenInst’s newest resource highlighting innovative #edtech tools putting new relationships with mentors and experts within reach for students. #WhoYouKnow (

right idea.. but not disruptive.. we can do so much better..

ie: as it could be..

2 convers.. as infra

ie: hlb via 2 convers that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

what we need most is the energy of 7bn alive people .. to get us back/to an undisturbed ecosystem

in the city.. as the day..via gershenfeld something else law


ChristensenInstitute (@ChristensenInst) tweeted at 6:01 AM on Sun, Sep 09, 2018:
Every student deserves a network of mentors. Luckily, we’re witnessing a rise of innovations that bring more relationships within reach for young people. Read about the future of the networked school in @juliaffreeland’s new book #WhoYouKnow

we now have the means to listen to 7bn voices/curiosities everyday.. let’s listen to and facil networks from that

ie: as it could be..

2 convers.. as infra