Clayton Christensen’s Last Interview

This post is by Giff Constable from

MIT Sloan Management Review published an interview of Clayton Christensen — one of the last if not the last before he passed away. He was a huge influence on how I (and many) think. Here are a few interesting quotes (in italics) from the piece, with color commentary below each one:

“Disruptive innovations are not breakthrough innovations or “ambitious upstarts” that dramatically alter how business is done but, rather, consist of products and services that are simple, accessible, and affordable.”

This is a useful reminder to entrepreneurs: if you want to truly be disruptive, aim for more simple, accessible and affordable. However, this doesn’t mean that this is the only good new business to create. One can certainly bring a new premium product/service to market and be successful, but Christensen’s point is that it won’t meet his standards for “disruptive”.

“That’s its [disruption theory’s] value — not just to predict what your competitor will do but also to predict what your own company might do.”

It’s always easier to look at others than yourself. It’s easy to look at your product, resources and organizational structure and think about what it allows you to do. Not enough people can (or do) look at those same things to think about what you are no longer able to do. Our business models create opportunities but they also simultaneously constrain us. That’s worth poking at.

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