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Clayton Christensen
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Clayton Christensen
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  • Dr. Christensen has been named one of the most influential business thinkers in the world and is instructor for one of the most popular electives at Harvard University.
  • Drawing from his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, Dr. Christensen helps managers build growth by looking at seven critical areas of their business.
  • Dr. Christensen’s concept of disruptive innovation is applicable to every industry and type of organization.
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma, Dr. Christensen’s first book, was named one of the six most important books about business ever written by The Economist.

Dr. Clayton Christensen, a top expert on innovation and growth, also teaches one of the most popular electives at Harvard University. In 2011, he was named the most influential business thinker in the world in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors.

Dr. Christensen received a B.A. in economics from Brigham Young University and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA with High Distinction from Harvard Business School, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. In 1982, he was named a White House Fellow and served as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole. He received his DBA from Harvard Business School, became a faculty member there, and then a full professor with tenure in 1998. He holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Before going into academics, Dr. Christensen served as a management consultant and co-founded Ceramics Process Systems, a Massachusetts-based company. Since then, he has helped establish many other successful enterprises, including the innovation consulting firm Innosight, the public policy think tank Innosight Institute, and Rose Park Advisors, a boutique investment firm.

As the originator of “disruptive innovation,” Dr. Christiansen has focused his study and application of that concept on social issues such as education and health care. Author of nine books and more than a hundred articles, Dr. Christensen’s first book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, received the Global Business Book Award as the best business book of the year. In 2011, The Economist named it one of the six most important books about business ever written. Disrupting Class looks at why schools struggle, The Innovator’s Prescription examines how to fix the health care system, and The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out explores the future of higher education in America. In The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators, he identifies capabilities demonstrated by the best innovators and explains how to master the skills.

He has received the Abernathy, Newcomen, James Madison, and Circle Prizes for his writing. Dr. Christensen is a five-time recipient of the McKinsey Award, given annually to the top two articles published in the Harvard Business Review; and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tribeca Films Festival (2010).

For more than 25 years, Dr. Christensen has served with the Boy Scouts of America in various capacities. He and his wife live in Massachusetts and have five children and five grandchildren.

VIDEOS
TESTIMONIALS

"Clayton Christensen offers practical diagnostic tools, remedies and poignant examples for achieving success whether you are attacking or defending."
    Polaris Ventures

"Your presentation at The Liverpool Summit—the content, the style, the humor—struck a chord with everyone, with 97% of the delegates rating you as 'Excellent' or 'Very Good'."
    BENCHMARK MANAGEMENT, LTD

"Clayton was everything we expected: provocative, persuasive, timely, easy to listen to and understand, provided a great deal of business understanding to our audience, and was an ideal standard setter for our three-day event. Everyone felt that they learned something new which was important to their work and our Innovation in Learning Summit. He also tailored the presentation to our petroleum industry audience. We recommend him very highly to others who may need his presence at their special event."
    David Donohue, President, IHRDC

PROGRAMS

Dr. Clayton Christensen’s background in both the business world and academia makes him a perfect speaker on the issues facing businesses today. Calling on real examples from the business world, as well as case studies from academia, Dr. Christensen helps audiences understand how “disruptive innovation”—new market creation that disrupts an existing market—is critical to business. Much of his content includes his research on the health and education industries and the way disruptive innovation has impacted them.

Future Opportunities for Growth in Information Technology
In this session Christensen will draw upon several models that have emerged in his study of innovation to examine the future of information technology. He’ll explore which system architectures are likely to become most prevalent, and which vendors will supply them. The long-range competitive implications of outsourcing information services will also be examined; and he’ll offer some tools that IT managers can use to ensure that the services they offer meet the most pressing needs of company management.

  • To beat powerful competitors, companies should pick the fights powerful competitors either cannot or will not contest by either seeking out non-consumers who will welcome a simple product or by launching an attack on the low-end of an incumbent’s market among customers the incumbent is actually happy to lose. Tomorrow's most pervasive technologies are unlikely to come from today's leaders.
  • To connect with customers, companies must develop a product that successfully matches a circumstance that customers find themselves in. Traditional means of defining markets—like product categories or demographics—often run counter to how customers live their lives and therefore do not help companies successfully connect with customers.
  • In circumstances where products are not good enough to meet customer needs, a company needs to be integrated to improve the product’s functionality. In circumstances where the product is more than good enough, focused firms can beat competitors with speed, responsiveness and customization.
  • In highly uncertain situations that typify disruptive innovations, companies can follow a rigorous process by using an emergent strategy supported by a discovery-driven planning process that enables them to adjust their strategy when they encounter unanticipated opportunities, problems and successes.
  • CEOs needs to get involved in circumstances when a company’s standard processes are not designed to do what needs to get done.
  • Technological Enablers for Reducing Cost and Improving Accessibility of Quality Health Care
    Much of the discourse on making our health care system accessible relates to insuring the uninsured—with the unspoken assumption that the level and rate of increase in costs are what they are. This isn't the case. Technological enablers, coupled with business model innovation, have the promise of dramatically reducing the cost and improving the accessibility of quality health care. Christensen will talk about what these innovations are, and how they can be implemented.

    The History of Healthcare: From Intuitive to Precision Medicine
    In the absence of the ability to precisely define a disease, the care of patients is best undertaken by highly skilled professionals, whose intuition is based on deep experience. This describes the history of health care, and it is called the practice of intuitive medicine. Molecular biology holds the promise of transforming medical practice into a new phase that is called precision medicine. Christensen will discuss why it promises to dramatically reduce cost and increase the predictable effectiveness of therapy.

    Fixing the Health Care Business Model
    The process of making products and services more affordable and accessible begins when historically expensive expertise is commoditized. This has happened in every industry Christensen has studied, and healthcare is no different.

    In healthcare, this process is heavily dependent upon the ability to make a precise diagnosis, which is driven by molecular and imaging diagnostics. These technologies need to be coupled with business model innovation.

    One reason why healthcare is so expensive, and quality of care so inconsistent, is that today’s hospitals and physician practices are actually a conflated set of business models. In this session, Christensen will explain these problems and recommend solutions.

    Increasing the Probability for Success of a VC-Funded Startup
    Historically the probability that a venture capital-funded startup will succeed has been approximately 20 percent. In Christensen’s talk he'll contend that entrepreneurs can dramatically increase the probability of success if they make certain key decisions with the guidance of a few well-researched theories. He will describe what these theories or models are, and how they can be used to shape a great company.

    Disruptive Innovation and Catalytic Change in Higher Education
    Christensen will describe the root causes for why our schools have struggled to improve, and how to solve these problems.

  • America’s public schools have in fact been improving at an impressive rate for several decades. The problem is that the definition of improvement has changed.
  • The interdependent architecture of our present system mandates standardization in the way we teach and test. The problem is the differences in students’ learning styles or types of intelligence mandate modularity in teaching and testing.
  • Heavyweight teams always are required to define new product and service architectures. The problem is that architectural reform cannot be done within the functional structure of existing schools. Only functional improvement is possible. Chartered and pilot schools are heavyweight teams.
  • America’s poor performance in science, math and engineering is caused by diminished extrinsic motivation. Comfort and prosperity are the culprits; intrinsic motivation is our only hope.
  • Multiplicity of jobs requires multiple business models to address them.
  • Disruptive Strategies for Creating New Markets or Reshaping Existing Markets
    Christensen will explain disruption, the mechanism by which great companies continue to succeed and new entrants displace the market leaders. Disruptive innovations either create new markets or reshape existing markets by delivering relatively simple, convenient, low cost innovations to a set of customers who are ignored by industry leaders.

    One of the bedrock principles of Christensen's disruptive innovation theory is that companies innovate faster than customers' lives change. Because of this, most organizations end up producing products that are too good, too expensive, and too inconvenient for many customers. By only pursuing these "sustaining" innovations, companies unwittingly open the door to "disruptive" innovations, be it "low-end disruption" targeting overshot-less-demanding customers or "new-market disruption", targeting non-consumers.

    Creating New Growth Through Disruptive Innovation
    Christensen will explain why many of today’s markets that appear to have little growth remaining, actually have great growth potential through disruptive innovations that transform complicated, expensive products into simple, affordable ones.

    Successful innovation seems unpredictable because innovators rely excessively on data, which is only available about the past. They have not been equipped with sound theories that do not allow them to see the future perceptively. This problem has been solved.

    Understanding the customer is the wrong unit of analysis for successful innovation. Understanding the job that the customer is trying to do is the key.

    Many innovations that have extraordinary growth potential fail, not because of the product or service itself, but because the company forced it into an inappropriate business model instead of creating a new optimal one.

    Companies with disruptive products and business models are the ones whose share prices increase faster than the market over sustained periods.

    BEST-SELLING BOOKS

    How Will You Measure Your Life?
    In 2010 world-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen gave a powerful speech to the Harvard Business School's graduating class. Drawing upon his business research, he offered a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. He used examples from his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness.

    The speech was memorable not only because it was deeply revealing but also because it came at a time of intense personal reflection: Christensen had just overcome the same type of cancer that had taken his father's life. As Christensen struggled with the disease, the question "How do you measure your life?" became more urgent and poignant, and he began to share his insights more widely with family, friends, and students.

    In this groundbreaking book, Christensen puts forth a series of questions: How can I be sure that I'll find satisfaction in my career? How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness? How can I avoid compromising my integrity—and stay out of jail? Using lessons from some of the world's greatest businesses, he provides incredible insights into these challenging questions.

    How Will You Measure Your Life? is full of inspiration and wisdom, and will help students, midcareer professionals, and parents alike forge their own paths to fulfillment.

    Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
    It's no secret that people learn in different ways, so why, the authors of this book ask, "can't schools customize their teaching?" The current system, "designed for standardization," must by its nature ignore the individual needs of each student. The answer to this problem, the authors argue, is "disruptive innovation," a principle introduced (and initially applied to business) by Harvard Business School professor Christensen in The Innovator's Dilemma.


    The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out

    Praise for The Innovative University:

    "This superbly documented book is a must read for anyone who cares about America's universities and colleges and the invaluable role they play in our contemporary society. Henry Eyring and Clayton Christensen remind us of higher education's history and thoughtfully examine the critical strands of its DNA that require 're-engineering' to insure survival and good health for our richly diverse system. Perhaps the best feature of this volume is that it goes beyond analysis to offer what is possible through models that are scalable, transferable, and responsive to the needs of learning, discovery, and engagement."
        Molly Corbett Broad, President, American Council on Education

    "The Innovative University offers fascinating new perspectives on very old questions: What defines a university's identity? Are all universities cloned from the same ancestral stock? Are there still opportunities for diversity in American higher education, or is [a] single ideal to be approximated with greater or lesser fidelity? These questions resonate through the book's narrative histories of an old university and a bold new one."
        Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University; author, Excellence Without a Soul

    The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care / Edition 1
    A groundbreaking prescription for health care reform—from a legendary leader in innovation...

    Our health care system is in critical condition. Each year, fewer Americans can afford it, fewer businesses can provide it, and fewer government programs can promise it for future generations.

    We need a cure, and we need it now.

    Harvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen—whose bestselling The Innovator’s Dilemma revolutionized the business world—presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

    Christensen applies the principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system with two pioneers in the field—Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang. Together, they examine a range of symptoms and offer proven solutions.

    YOU’LL DISCOVER HOW:

      • “Precision medicine” reduces costs and makes good on the promise of personalized care
      • Disruptive business models improve quality, accessibility, and affordability by changing the way hospitals and doctors work
      • Patient networks enable better treatment of chronic diseases
      • Employers can change the roles they play in health care to compete effectively in the era of globalization
      • Insurance and regulatory reforms stimulate disruption in health care

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