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Clayton Christensen Speaker

Clayton Christensen

    • One of the World's Top Experts on Innovation and Growth
    • Foremost Authority on Innovation and Father of Disruptive Innovation Theory
    • Author of Revolutionary Book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”
Full Bio
Fee Range

$50,000 - $100,000

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Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School; and is regarded as one of the world's top experts on innovation and growth.

Professor Christensen holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (1975), and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University (1977), where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow, and served through 1983 as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992. Professor Christensen became a faculty member there in 1992, and was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998. He holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Christensen has served as a director of many companies, and has advised the executives of scores of the world's major corporations. These companies generate tens of billions of dollars in revenues every year from product and service innovations that were inspired by his research.

Christensen, an experienced entrepreneur, has started four successful companies. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, in 1984 he and three MIT professors founded CPS Technologies, which has become a leading developer and manufacturer of products from high-technology materials.

In 2000, Christensen founded Innosight, a consulting firm that uses his theories of innovation to help companies create new growth businesses. In 2007, he founded Rose Park Advisors, a firm that identifies and invests in disruptive companies. He is also the founder of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank whose mission is to apply his theories to vexing societal problems such as healthcare and education.

Professor Christensen is the best-selling author of eight books and more than a hundred articles. The Innovator's Dilemma received the Global Business Book Award as the best business book of the year (1997); and in 2011 The Economist named it as one of the six most important books about business ever written. His other articles and books have received the Abernathy, Newcomen, James Madison, and Circle Prizes. Five times he has received the McKinsey Award, given to the two best articles published in the Harvard Business Review each year; and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tribeca Films Festival (2010). He has been featured twice (1998 and 2011) as the cover story in Forbes Magazine. In 2011 in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors, Christensen was named as the most influential business thinker in the world.

Professor Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973; speaks fluent Korean; and continues to serve in his church in as many ways as he can. He served the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years as a scoutmaster, cubmaster, den leader, troop and pack committee chairman. He and his wife Christine live in Belmont, MA. They are the parents of five children and grandparents to five grandchildren. 901-754-9404.

The Innovator’s Dilemma – and Solution

Professor Clayton Christensen has long believed – and proven – that successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right” and yet still lose their competitive edge, or even fail, as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. His seminal theory of disruptive innovation, first introduced more than three decades ago, has changed the way managers and CEOs around the world think about and create innovation. Professor Christensen builds on his groundbreaking research to help all companies understand how to become disruptors themselves. He provides clear advice on the business decisions crucial to truly disruptive growth, drawing from in-depth, real world examples across multiple industries.


Competing Against Luck: Do You Know What Jobs Your Customers are Hiring You to Do?

Year after year, we collectively spend hundreds of billions of dollars developing new products and services in the hope that they will succeed. And, year after year, we find that most of these efforts fail. For many managers, successful innovation is essentially a matter of luck.  But it doesn’t need to be that way, says Clay Christensen.  The key is understanding why our customers make the choices they make. As Christensen and his co-authors explore in their new book, “Competing Against Luck”, customers don’t buy products and services. They hire them to do a job. And knowing the job brings order and predictability to the swirl of innovation.  He delves deep into several well-known companies that have done this right, explaining why no competitor has come close to copying IKEA in more than 40 years; how sleepy Southern New Hampshire University became one of the biggest success stories in continuing education of the last decade, and why Intuit’s Quick Books dominated the market just months after launching.  Don’t leave innovation to chance, urges Christensen. As he discusses, Jobs to be Done isn’t innovation jargon; it’s based on his rigorously researched theory that explains what causes customers to do what they do. This causal mechanism is that every day, jobs arise in their lives that they need to resolve. He describes how managers can learn what these jobs are, and how they might develop a product that nails them well.  Once you understand this, he shows, developing exciting new innovations becomes quite predictable.


A Groundbreaking Prescription for Health Care Reform

It’s no secret our health care system is in critical condition. Each year, fewer Americans can afford it, fewer businesses can provide it, and fewer government programs can promise it for future generations. We need a cure – stat. The challenges the system faces – making health care affordable and conveniently accessible to most people – is not unique to this industry. “Almost every industry began with services and products that were so complicated and expensive to provide that only people with a lot of skill and a lot of money could participate,” Professor Christensen explains. “The transformational force that has brought affordability and accessibility to other industries is disruptive innovation.” He applies the principles of his renowned theory to health care, examines the challenges, and proposes a set of clear, actionable solutions that use the advances of technology to both reduce the cost of care and lead to improved health outcomes for millions.


Disrupting Class: Changing the Way the World Learns Through Innovation

The way we learn doesn’t match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive – academically, economically and technologically – we must reevaluate our educational system, rethink our approach to learning, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. We need disruptive innovation, argues Professor Clayton Christensen. Everyone across the education sector (K-12 through higher education) benefits from understanding why and how to apply the theory’s principles. From online learning to blended learning and hybrid models, Professor Christensen dissects the unprecedented opportunities of a more personalized approach to learning. He discusses not only how the transformation to a student-centric education system could play out, but what educators, policymakers and others must do to ensure it realizes its promise.

Speaking Topics:

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