Think different

11. August 2011

DaDate: 11-08-2011

 Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Clay Christensen lays down some rules for innovators. But can innovation be learned?

INNOVATION is today’s equivalent of the Holy Grail. Rich-world governments see it as a way of staving off stagnation. Poor governments see it as a way of speeding up growth. And businesspeople everywhere see it as the key to survival.

Which makes Clay Christensen the closest thing we have to Sir Galahad. Fourteen years ago Mr Christensen, a knight of the Harvard Business School, revolutionised the study of the subject with “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, a book that popularised the term “disruptive innovation”. This month he publishes a new study, “The Innovator’s DNA”, co-written with Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, which tries to take us inside the minds of successful innovators. How do they go about their business? How do they differ from regular suits? And what can companies learn from their mental habits? Mr Christensen and his colleagues list five habits of mind that characterise disruptive innovators: associating, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting. Innovators excel at connecting seemingly unconnected things. Read the rest of this entry »