The bottom line: A paradigm shift in thought about how good companies can fail and how innovator’s can succeed.
Attention all future game-changers: If you’re looking to change the world, you can’t follow the world’s rules. This book gives you a blueprint for action.
The Innovator’s Dilemma explains how excellent companies with excellent managers with excellent teams and excellent strategies can do everything right and still fail. The Innovator’s Dilemma also explains how innovators with “disruptive” technologies on the fringes of the mainstream cannot follow the same rules as existing firms.
In driving toward market leadership, existing and disruptive firms must follow separate and distinct paths.
Christensen shows that successful innovation is not unpredictable. This comes with the recognition, however, that “data only exist about the past” and hence what is working in the present for leading firms need not apply to disruptive firms of the future. This paradigm necessarily applies to all companies and is not exclusive to technological ones.
The core value of this book is that it gives specific, actionable strategies on when listening to consumers is dead wrong, when “what has worked before” should be abandoned, and when cost-ineffective strategies should be pursued as opposed to more profitable ones. All of the author’s conclusions are supported by extensive research and thorough market analysis.
Part I is called “Why Great Companies Fail” and its aim is self-explanatory. Part II, the larger chunk of the book, is called “Managing Disruptive Technology Change” and gives practical and real-life advice on how to adapt to innovation and changing market landscapes. The entire book is grounded in historical and contemporary examples so each point that the author makes is illustrated with a case study.
Another benefit of this book is that it is repetitive and the author frequently pauses to recount what has already been said and where he is going. This makes reading isolated sections of the book very easy without having to rely on other parts for clarity. Also, although the book is aimed at those in the business world, it is extremely easy to read and understandable from a non-business perspective. Furthermore, in order to get the “main idea” one could just read the Preface and Chapter 11 (Summary) to extract the essential points of the text. In the end, The Innovator’s Dilemma is a business classic for a reason, and no entrepreneur, founder of a startup, innovator, businessperson—or anyone who thinks there is a better way to do things—should be without it.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal