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Book Review & Discussion : The Innovator's Dilemma

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When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

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In this event, you’ll learn

Why sometimes the best thing you can do for your customers is ignore them

The reason there is a limit to how much innovation any market can take

Which other characteristics markets share where startups can strike

How to deal with unpredictable developments

Why business theory will only get you so far

How to discover new markets based on disruptive technology

About the Author

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author of eight critically acclaimed books, including the bestsellers The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life?, and Disrupting Class. Christensen is the cofounder of Innosight, a management consultancy; Rose Park Advisors, an investment firm; and the Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank.

Overview

The Dilemma

The dilemma in the Innovator’s Dilemma is simple; Innovations that satisfy a brand’s need for growth require taking risks that are unacceptable to that brand. Innovation, or at least disruptive innovation – the kind that drives growth – requires vision, nerve and patience. And most brands don’t have these qualities; driven by quarterly results, most brands will eschew long-term growth for short-term profitability.

For big brands, the problem is worse – growth opportunities typically lie in small new market niches that have yet to flourish, not in mature stable markets. But these niches typically get overlooked by large brands and dismissed as not sizeable enough. How many brands would have invested in the small, nascent energy drink market niche with a product that tested so poorly that the research concluded “No other product has ever failed this convincingly”? Red Bull did, but only by ignoring consumer research and betting on a vision of how the world should be, not how it is.

The BG Take

As a product concept development agency for large consumer brands, The Innovator’s Dilemma poses a challenge to Brand Genetics; it would suggest that our consumer insight-led approach to innovation is unlikely to deliver disruptive innovation concepts. At best we simply add to the clutter around known needs, and fight for share of wallet in the fat middle of consumer society – more packaging, pack-size and flavour variants in our world of FMCG.

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