Clayton Christensen dies at 67 after lifetime of business, spiritual influence

Clayton Christensen, the Harvard professor who's theory of disruptive innovation made him a teacher sought after by the likes of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Reed Hastings and Andy Grove, died this week at the age of 67. An influential management thinker, he coined the term 'disruptive innovation' but maligned what he saw as misuse.

Though he coined the term, Christensen grew uncomfortable with it as he saw it overused and misapplied. He utilized it narrowly to describe innovations that upended existing markets, but only if they fit a certain pattern he had discovered. A true disruptive innovation, he taught, first appealed only to a niche market and appeared less attractive than the powerful incumbent it eventually usurped. In fact, the incumbent typically looked down on it as inconsequential until it ate up huge swaths of its market share

This New Yorker profile from 2012 is well worth a read, as what some say is his famous his best book, "How You Measure Your Life".


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