World’s leading innovation guru on disruptive innovation
2015 Ranking: #2
The world’s pre-eminent expert on innovation, Clayton Christensen achieved back-to-back number 1 rankings in the Thinkers50 in 2011 and again in 2013, an achievement matched only by management legends Peter Drucker and CK Prahalad. Christensen revolutionized conventional management thinking with his seminal book, The Innovator’s Dilemma (Harvard Business School Press, 1997), which explored the radical paradox that great companies fail by making the “right decisions” in the “wrong” situations.
The New York Times best-seller has since been translated into 18 languages, sold in more than 25 countries and deeply influenced some of the greatest business leaders of our time – among them, Apple’s Steve Jobs, Michael Bloomberg and Intel’s Andy Grove. Christensen followed with The Innovator’s Solution (2003), and Seeing What’s Next (2004).
Christensen also continues to focus the lens of disruptive innovation on the world’s most pressing social problems: health care and education. His best-selling books – The Innovator’s Prescription (McGraw-Hill, 2009), Disrupting Class (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out (Jossey-Bass, 2011) – and non-profit, non-partisan think tank, the Clayton Christensen Institute, offer unique frameworks for better understanding and addressing these ever-evolving challenges.
Christensen’s bestselling 2012 book, How Will You Measure Your Life: Finding Fulfillment Using Lessons from Some of the World’s Greatest Businesses, co-authored with James Allworth and Karen Dillon, was nominated for the Thinkers50 Best Book Award in 2013.
Almost two decades after the publication of the Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen remains as relevant as ever. Today he believes we are in the throes of the “Capitalist’s Dilemma” – a theory at the heart of his forthcoming book of the same name, which he hopes will “help us understand that policies that were once right are now wrong, and that counterintuitive measures might actually work to turn our economies around”.
But Christensen believes one of his most enduring legacies will be an idea he first put forward in his 2003 book The Innovator’s Solution (Harvard Business Review Press): don’t sell products and services to customers, but rather try to help people address their jobs-to-be-done. This seemingly simple idea has huge potential for reframing industries and is the basis for another forthcoming book.