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The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth [Hardcover]

Clayton M. Christensen , Michael E. Raynor
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2003
A seminal work by bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen.

In his international bestseller The Innovator's Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen exposed this crushing paradox behind the failure of many industry leaders: by placing too much focus on pleasing their most profitable customers, these firms actually paved the way for their own demise by ignoring the disruptive technologies that aggressively evolved to displace them. In The Innovator’s Solution, Christensen and coauthor Michael E. Raynor help all companies understand how to become disruptors themselves.

Clay Christensen (author of the award-winning Harvard Business Review article, “How Will You Measure Your Life?”) and Raynor not only reveal that innovation is more predictable than most managers have come to believe, they also provide helpful advice on the business decisions crucial to truly disruptive growth. Citing in-depth research and theories tested in hundreds of companies across many industries, the authors identify the processes that create successful innovation—and they show managers how to tailor their strategies to the changing circumstances of a dynamic world.

The Innovator’s Solution is an important addition to any innovation library.

Published by Harvard Business Review Press.

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From Publishers Weekly

Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma) analyzes the strategies that allow corporations to successfully grow new businesses and outpace the other players in the marketplace. Christensen's earlier book examined how focusing on profits can destroy even well-run corporations, while this book focuses on companies expanding by being "disruptors" who are able to outpace their entrenched competition. The authors (Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School and Raynor, a director at Deloitte Research) examine the nine business decisions integral to growth, including product development, organizational structure, financing and key customer base. They cite such companies as IBM, AT&T, Sony, Microsoft and others to illustrate their points. Generally, the writing is clear and specific. For example, in discussing whether a company has the resources necessary for growth, the authors say, "In order to be confident that managers have developed the skills required to succeed at a new assignment, one should examine the sorts of problems they have wrestled with in the past. It is not as important that managers have succeeded with the problem as it is for them to have wrestled with it and developed the skills and intuition for how to meet the challenge successfully the next time around"; they then provide a real-life example of a software company. Similar important strategies give readers insights that they can use in their own workplaces. People looking for quick fixes may find the charts, diagrams and extensive footnotes daunting, but readers familiar with more technical business management tomes will find this one both stimulating and beneficial.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“The process of Low End Disruption is beautifully described in Clayton Christensen’s series of books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution and The Innovator’s DNA. If you haven’t read them, you should. What’s amazing about these books is not only how important their conclusions are but how well researched they are.” — TechCrunch

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I rate business books on how well they help me understand the business and industry I work in, and at that score, I found The Innovator's Solution to be an extremely valuable book. It builds upon Clayton Christensen's previous book, The Innovator's Dilemma, which showed the paradox that well managed companies that listen to customers, and target the most attractive markets are often blind sided by disruptive change.
While The Innovator's Dilemma described the phenomena, The Innovator's Solution is the business playbook to capitalize on it. The authors categorize business innovations into two types: Sustaining innovations target demanding, high-end customers with better performance than previously available, and disruptive innovations that introduce a product or service to new or less demanding customers, usually by providing a new level of convenience, or similar performance at a lower price.
Christensen and Raynor argue that both innovations are important to companies, although disruptive innovations are the ones that have the greater potential for growth. Unfortunately, disruptive innovations are difficult to identify, and as the authors demonstrate, often are not properly confronted and dealt with by managers. This book shows how businesses can identify the nature of innovations, and how best to allocate resources and plan strategically depending on whether an innovation is sustaining or disruptive.
The authors draw on a large body of case histories and business theory to present a compelling case. It differs from most business books by establishing a model, and then testing the predictions and limits of the model.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Fad Business Book Nov. 28 2003
By A Customer
Alas for those of us who exist in the real world. It is demonstrably untrue that most of the major companies in the industry lost their leads to their competition because of "disruptive" technology. 32-bit OS/2 lost to a 16-bit shell riding on top of an 8-bit OS core (Windows 3.X). You might claim the PC was a "disruptive" system, but Dell is certainly no innovator, nor was Compaq nor was Gateway nor were any of the cloners. They just were more efficient manufacturers, hardly a disruptive "technology." Novell did not lose to NT because NT was disruptive; it lost because it actively discouraged third-party application development and refused to add a GUI to NetWare years after it was clear people wanted one. The Mac was "disruptive" yet a second-rate imitation ended up owning the GUI roost. MicroPro once owned word processing but failed because of an internal positioning war. Ashton-Tate crashed and burned because of a PR fiasco. WordPerfect introduced a stinker of a Windows product just as the market was turning to Windows because the head of the company didn't want to force his best programmers to leave their DOS code bases. CA has flourished by buying dying mainframe companies and milking installed bases. Borland nearly died by pursuing object-oriented programming, arguably a disruptive technology, and held up releases of its core products while it innovated itself into irrelevance. What does any of this have to do with disruption? Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kevs view June 24 2009
I found that the author identified many challenges that I experience as a small business owner. A good use of familiar companies as examples of both failure and success make this book identifiable to any size organization as the challenges are applicable to small, medium and large businesses. The remedies and solutions that are offered are realistic and doable. I would recommed this book as an entry to mid level manager's aid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good explanation of the solution July 13 2004
This is easier to read than the Innovators Dilemma. There is a more varied range of Product and Industry case studies, which helps to show how broadly this theory can be applied.
What I did like is how he covers the footnotes at the end of each Chapter - so if they don't interest you, you can skip over them, but if they do interest you, then you don't have to struggle to the back of the book. I wish more authors & publishers would use that technique.
One quibble - given his Economics background, he suggests that having competing phone standards is not wasteful. Only an Economist would say that. A Consumer finds it frustrating. He has the good grace to suggest in a footnote that some readers might take issue with him, and I am one. He belittles the benefit of schoolgirls from Sweden using their phone on vacation in Spain, but I can vouch that being able to readily check on the safety of my teenage daughters when they're in foreign Countries for over 10% of the year is a definite benefit!
Given his Economics background - of course there are plenty of graphs, and 99% of them are straight lines - there are no time dependent variances in his world. Also some silly proof-reading slips, such as a "semi-log" graph being described as "semi- long".
Probably still worth reading the Innovators Dilemma before reading this one, just to get the theory.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars not very bad
sorry for my poor english but i am a student in kyoto university in japan and i really enjoyed this book. Read more
Published on April 17 2004 by "yokoono6"
4.0 out of 5 stars A dilemma with a solution?
I expected Innovator's Solution to provide a resolution to the Innovator's Dilemma-until I realized dilemmas have no satisfactory solution. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Chad Badiyan
2.0 out of 5 stars Christensen's Dilemma
Funny, the author faces the same dilemma as his innovators!! Isn't it about time Christensen innovates around the next "disruptive" management fad?
Published on Feb. 18 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars NO SOLUTION HERE.
Let me save you the time. The writing in this *executive book* is fluent, reminiscent of Clayton's Innovator's Dilemma. Which makes this a readable book. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by Shashank Tripathi
3.0 out of 5 stars Understands the problem but not the solution. Impractical.
This book makes a prescription. It's a pretty simple one. Make sure innovation happens. Hire people to cannibalize the business you are in. Back those people. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by BP -
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for all Product Developers
If you are at all involved with the creation and marketing of new products (and not just high-tech products), I heartily recommend this book -- you'll walk away with a better... Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent analysis
Christensen analysis is perfect insofar as its views of disruptive technologies are concerned. I wonder what is the cost analysis of disruptive technologies deployed near or after... Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2004 by Andre Rosenthal
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than _Dilema_, provides a framework for growth
Even software developers should read this book; much like the better books on Agile methodologies, the major contribution is a framework for finding the right kinds of processes... Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for product developers
In this book, Christensen and Raynor argue that disruptive technologies (those technologies with a great potential, like for example: LCD displays, 802. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by David Bonyuet
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