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Key MBA Models by Dr. Julian Birkinshaw, Ken Mark

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Disruptive innovation

Innovation is the engine of change in most industries. But there are some industries where innovation hurts the existing leaders (for example, in the case of digital imaging and Kodak), and there are others where innovation helps the existing leaders (for example, video on demand and Netflix). To help make sense of this puzzle, Clay Christensen developed his theory of innovation. He showed that some innovations have features that make them disruptive, while others have sustaining qualities. It is very useful to understand which is which.

When to use it

  • To make sense of who the winners and losers are when an industry is going through change.
  • To understand whether an innovation is a threat or an opportunity.
  • To decide ...

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