Top 10 Clayton Christensen Insights – World Innovation Forum

by Braden Kelley


Taking a slightly different approach than other World Innovation Forum bloggers, I’ve distilled the first 90 minutes with Clayton Christensen down into these Top 10 Insights:

  1. Largest markets don’t represent the biggest growth opportunity – non-existent markets are key
  2. Sustaining innovation improves product past what people need – disruptive innovations often win by being inferior but closer to customer needs
  3. Low cost strategy only works when you are fighting against a high cost competitor – prices fall if only low cost competitors exist
  4. A good disruptive strategy creates an incentive for leaders to exit the contested area and focus on higher margin businesses
  5. Biggest opporunity in China isn’t low cost labor, it’s the untapped market of non-consumers
  6. Clayton Christensen believes that green energy opportunities are not in high tech solutions but in low tech developing world instead
  7. Be careful about outsourcing too much of your operations – you can end up creating competitors (Compaq/Flextronics example)
  8. Good companies survive by setting up separate businesses with an unfettered charter to kill the mother company
  9. Clayton Christensen doesn’t seem to believe that listening to customers is key to innovation
  10. Listening to customers doesn’t necessarily tip off leaders to possibilities of disruptive innovation

Finally, I’d just like to say that if you’ve never seen Clayton Christensen in person, he is a gentle giant with a calm demeanor, and surprisingly funny.

Update May 24, 2009 – Here are the slides from Clayton Christensen’s presentation at the World Innovation Forum:

What do you think?

Braden Kelley (@innovate on Twitter)

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