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Tech Translation: Disruptive Innovation

17 Dec 2015 by Shay Moser

Remember when "paradigm shift" was the buzzword used to describe a fundamental change in business practices? Now it's landed on the list of overused jargon to avoid, replaced by the phrase "disruptive innovation," which was created in 1995 by Harvard Professor Clayton M. Christensen in his research on the disk drive industry.

Later, his book, "The Innovator's Dilemma," published in 1997, spread the disruptive innovation theory throughout the business world.

According to the Christensen Institute, "The theory explains the phenomenon by which an innovation transforms an existing market or sector by introducing simplicity, convenience, accessibility and affordability where complication and high cost are the status quo. Initially, a disruptive innovation is formed in a niche market that may appear unattractive or
inconsequential to industry incumbents, but eventually the new product or idea completely redefines the industry."

Ever since disruptive innovation was coined, it's been a description some love to hate — and Christensen has even improved the theory. Soon to come is a website where different views on disruptive innovation can be shared, and people can expand on the theory to make it stronger.

In the meantime, here is the latest on disruptive innovation from Christensen and others, as well as articles about industries being disrupted — but that are not disruptive innovators per Christensen's theory. Decide for yourself:

  1. What Is Disruptive Innovation?
  2. Fresh Insights From Clayton Christensen on Disruptive Innovation
  3. Automotive Disruption From the Bay Area to Atlanta
  4. How Digital Disruption Changed 8 Industries Forever
  5. Healthcare and Retail Are Prime Industries for Innovation
  6. 5 Insights & Predictions on Disruptive Tech From KPMG’s 2015 Global Innovation Survey
  7. Disrupting Mr. Disruptor
  8. What the Legendary Clayton Christensen Gets Wrong About Uber, Tesla and Disruptive Innovation
  9. Why Uber Isn’t Disruptive but Netflix Is
  10. When Endless Talk of Disruptive Innovation Gets in the Way of Real Innovation
  11. Clay Christensen Says Everyone Misunderstands His Theory of Disruption — Here’s What It Really Means

This article originally appeared in Volume 1, Issue 2 of Technically digital magazine.