There’s no question Clayton Christensen, who developed the theory of disruption, is Silicon Valley’s favorite business school professor. F

What Clayton Christensen Got Wrong

submited by
Style Pass
2022-09-22 09:00:08

There’s no question Clayton Christensen, who developed the theory of disruption, is Silicon Valley’s favorite business school professor. For me, diving deep into his thinking in a corporate innovation class was a breath of fresh air from management theory that explained all of corporate America but for its most successful company – Apple.

Christensen: I don’t think so. Look at any industry — not just computers and MP3 players. You also see it in aircrafts and software, and medical devices, and over and over. During the early stages of an industry, when the functionality and reliability of a product isn’t yet adequate to meet customer’s needs, a proprietary solution is almost always the right solution — because it allows you to knit all the pieces together in an optimized way.

But once the technology matures and becomes good enough, industry standards emerge. That leads to the standardization of interfaces, which lets companies specialize on pieces of the overall system, and the product becomes modular. At that point, the competitive advantage of the early leader dissipates, and the ability to make money migrates to whoever controls the performance-defining subsystem.

Leave a Comment