Why entrepreneurs beat incumbents at disruptive innovation

One of my holiday reading books is Professor Clayton Christensen’s new book, Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators Like many great thinkers, Professor Christensen has an amazing knack of making the complex understandable and ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail‘ has always been inspiring, as well as being recently being voted one of the top 6 business books of all time according to the Economist.

I would have read it anyway but as he is also speaking at Business of Software this year so what was a book for interest and pleasure is also now a professional duty. 🙂 I wish all work was that simple.

Both books, and the concepts behind them, are inspirational for entrepreneurs like you. They describe why and how, when it comes to transforming or creating new markets, new entrants almost always win. (He also explains why incumbents almost always win when it comes to influencing or shaping existing markets).

“Because companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ lives change, most organizations eventually end up producing products or services that are too good, too expensive, and too inconvenient for many customers.  By only pursuing “sustaining innovations” that perpetuate what has historically helped them succeed, companies unwittingly open the door to “disruptive innovations”.”

If you get a spare 15 minutes and want a powerful summary of the ideas, have a look at this 10 minute video from the Harvard Business Review (the Harvard Business Review doesn’t like embedded video), and this 2 minute video from Professor Christensen’s own web site.

The Business of Software conference will be held in Boston, October 24-26th October 2011.