Congratulations to Professor Clayton Christensen who opened our recent Business of Software Conference who has just been named the world’s top business thinker. What makes Clayton particularly brilliant is the fact that he has spent a lot of his life thinking about management but has also spent a considerable amount of time thinking about how those same principles apply to his life.
If you have five minutes, watch the video of his acceptance speech by clicking on the picture below – it goes to the award site. Lots to think about and quite moving.
Better still, take some time when you won’t be interrupted and read Clayton’s brilliant piece, ‘How will you measure your life?’
“When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. I’ll describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more often than not, they’ll say, “OK, I get it.” And they’ll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.
“My class at HBS is structured to help my students understand what good management theory is and how it is built. To that backbone I attach different models or theories that help students think about the various dimensions of a general manager’s job in stimulating innovation and growth. In each session we look at one company through the lenses of those theories—using them to explain how the company got into its situation and to examine what managerial actions will yield the needed results.
“On the last day of class, I ask my students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves, to find cogent answers to three questions:
“First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career? Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness? Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?
“Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.”” ‘How will you measure your life?’
Read it. I would be very interested to hear how it changed the way you think. It will.
- BLN Discussion Dinner, London, 7th December – Enterprise, SaaS and financial services
- BLN CEO Tales, London, 8th December – Mimecast and Mobile Interactive Group CEOs on growing global platforms from UK
- BLNMiM, London, 22nd March – Making money in mobile
- Business of Software, Boston, MA, October 1-3rd 2012 – For people growing sustainable, profitable, software businesses.
For a few weeks, we have been brimming with excitement knowing that Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen would be recognized with such an honor. Christensen has been chosen as the recipient of the 2011 Thinkers50 Award – bestowed every two years on a management thinker who has “helped change the way we think about management globally” – and joins a prestigious group of previous winners: Michael Porter, CK Prahalad, and Peter Drucker.
Christensen also has been named the inaugural winner of the Thinkers50 Innovation Award for his application of disruptive innovation to the social issues of education and healthcare. The award recognizes a management thinker who has “reshaped the way we think about and practice innovation,” which Christensen has surely accomplished. His literary works “Disrupting Class” and “The Innovative University” have brought to light the education revolution ahead, while “The Innovator’s Prescription,” a recent Circle Prize for Inspiring Innovation winner, has brought a common language to the many issues facing healthcare.
We encourage you to get to know Christensen, whether through an in-person lecture or his best-selling books. In March 2012, he will be speaking along with former CEO of Deloitte Jim Quigley at The Economist’s “Ideas Economy: Innovation” event at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. His newest book, “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators,” identifies the capabilities demonstrated by the best innovators and explains how to master the skills.
Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and cofounder of Innosight. Regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth, he is widely sought after as a speaker, advisor and board member. His next book, “How Will You Measure Your Life?,” is based on the article of the same name, which won the 2010 McKinsey Award for the Harvard Business Review’s best article, and will be published in Spring 2012.