Monday, June 18, 2007

Interview with Clayton Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma)

Business Week's Jena McGregor recently interviewed Clayton Christensen to mark the 10-year anniversary of his book the Innovator's Dilemma.

I would highly recommend this book if you are involved in library IT or in a library leadership position. As you read it replace the phrase "hard drive industry" with "libraries" as I did. Doing so creates a new perceptive and meaning to the work.

Here are some snipits from the interview. (the italics are my emphasis)

"you have to be careful which customers you listen to, and then you need to watch what they do, not listen to what they say."

"The problem is when you say "listen to your customers," your customers are only going to lead you in a direction that they want to go in. Generally, that will never lead you to disruptive growth. You've got to find that new set of customers, and listen to them and follow them. That's the trick."

"People come up with lots of new ideas, but nothing happens. They get very disillusioned. Never does an idea pop out of a person's head as a completely fleshed-out business plan. It has to go through a process that will get approved and funded."

"... many of the programs we teach are fundamentally biased against innovation. There are just a whole bunch of paradigms of financial analysis that really lie at the root cause of companies' under-investments in innovation."

"It's hard for me to see what will disrupt Google. I think they've got a pretty good run ahead of them. "

"The iPhone is a sustaining technology relative to Nokia. In other words, Apple is leaping ahead on the sustaining curve [by building a better phone]. But the prediction of the theory would be that Apple won't succeed with the iPhone. They've launched an innovation that the existing players in the industry are heavily motivated to beat: It's not [truly] disruptive. History speaks pretty loudly on that, that the probability of success is going to be limited. "
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