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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail » User review

Now What?

  • Jan 12, 2000
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+5
In his Introduction, Clayton M. Christensen makes his objective crystal clear: "This book is about the failure of companies to stay atop their industries when they confront certain types of market and technological change....the good companies -- the kinds that many managers have admired for years and tried to emulate, the companies known for their abilities to innovate and execute....It is about well-managed companies that have their competitive antennae up, listen astutely to their customers....invest aggressively in new technologies, and yet they still lose market dominance." Why? For Christensen, the answer is revealed in what he calls "the innovator's dilemma": the logical, competent decisions of management which are critical to the success of their companies are also the reasons why they lose their positions of leadership.

In the current and imminent global marketplace, paradox has become paradigm.

Managers in every organization (regardless of size or nature) eventually must resolve "the innovator's dilemma." Christensen's book provides invaluable assistance to completing that immensely difficult process. It remains for each of his readers to answer questions such as these: Which customers do we want? (also, which customers do we NOT want?) Which technologies will help us to get and then keep them? For each technology, which strategies will be most effective to sustain it? Should we attack competitors with disruptive technology? How can we best defend ourselves against it? How should our resources be allocated? What about timing? Should we lead or follow? If we follow, should we prepare to lead later? Correct (ie appropriate) answers to questions such as these will help to clarify today's realities and to suggest strategies for an uncertain future.

My own suspicion is that there will always be another dilemma to resolve. Christensen suggests a rigorous process by which to do so.

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More The Innovator's Dilemma: When ... reviews
review by . March 19, 2002
Having just re-read this book, I admire it even more now than I did when it was first published. In his Introduction, Christensen makes his objective crystal clear: "This book is about the failure of companies to remain competitive when they confront certain types of market and technological change....the good companies -- the kinds that many managers have admired for years and tried to emulate, the companies known for their abilities to innovate and execute....It is about well-managed companies …
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Robert Morris ()
Ranked #169
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Wiki

What do the Honda Supercub, Intel's 8088 processor, and hydraulic excavators have in common? They are all examples of disruptive technologies that helped to redefine the competitive landscape of their respective markets. These products did not come about as the result of successful companies carrying out sound business practices in established markets. InThe Innovator's Dilemma, author Clayton M. Christensen shows how these and other products cut into the low end of the marketplace and eventually evolved to displace high-end competitors and their reigning technologies.

At the heart of The Innovator's Dilemma is how a successful company with established products keeps from being pushed aside by newer, cheaper products that will, over time, get better and become a serious threat. Christensen writes that even the best-managed companies, in spite of their attention to customers and continual investment in new technology, are susceptible to failure no matter what the industry, be it hard drives or consumer retailing. Succinct and clearly written, The Innovator's Dilemma is an important book that belongs on every manager's bookshelf. Highly recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

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Details

ISBN-10: 0875845851
ISBN-13: 978-0875845852
Author: Clayton M. Christensen
Publisher: Harvard Business Press

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"Now What?"
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