Book Review: Innovator’s Dilemma

― Clayton M. Christensen

In a world of oversupply and flattening demand, what are the strategies that can assure that all of the potential profit is realized from the process, and that the product or service itself is precisely aligned with the most important demand pools?

What is the reason that organizations fade away and die? Is it possible to learn anything from their demise and avoid this fate ourselves? The horrors of extinction has always haunted top management. In the business culture of today, with high competition and low tolerance of failure, these thoughts must be even more pressing to a CEO. Nobody wants to be called the guy or gal that killed the company.

Failure of companies to stay on top of their industries when the confront certain types of market and technological change were stated in the book . It’s not about the failure of simply any company, but of good companies — the kinds that many managers have admired and tried to emulate, the companies known for their abilities to innovate and execute. It is about managed companies that have their competitive antennae up, listen astutely to their customers, invest aggressively in new technologies, and yet still lose market dominance. 

Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma isn’t even just a book about consistent success stories of companies. It’s a book about dealing with change on an organizational level. Adapting, evolving, anticipating, reacting; good strategies, bad strategies.

It’s about staying ahead of the technological curve, it’s about doing what your customers really need, rather than what they think they need. In other words, it’s about the future. It’s how you and your organization react to technological change and channel that change into innovative products and services that is vital to survival.

What I liked most about Christensen’s book is that it made me think. Every chapter has at least a few good ideas or even a case study. The book took account of taking great pains to list out all the areas where their own management could be rated excellent. There was, in fact, little evidence for their conceit. I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how they even managed to stay in business, and eventually came up with an understanding of how a company with mediocre products and service could muddle through. But the relevant lesson here was realizing how fickle top management could be, how readily they could fall for the flattery of self-appointed business gurus.

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