Building the theory of disruptive innovation: community edition


(Bart Doorneweert) #1

Many have heard of the theory of disruptive innovation. A theory built on a unique complete data set of the market for hard disks in the United States, covering a decade or two. This theory held a lot of explanatory capacity for the role of innovation in competition, growth of companies, as well as limits to their growth.

The theory has enjoyed fame and fortune, and has been adopted by many management thinkers and practitioners. But in the last couple of years, it’s had some push-back from academics in other fields, and a blowout from by the theory’s inventor, Clayton Christensen, trying to sort things by writing an article attempting to explain just what is disruptive innovation. In all, this has been a sad sequence of events in this discourse, on what is still a relevant theory with relevance to the daily life of a business.

#Making it open, makes it better
But now things are on the change for the better I feel. Christensen has decided to flip the game of theory building, by moving from the ivory tower, to the community. He’s set up a forum called Disruptiveinnovation.org.

The forum invites discussion on the various parts of the foundations of disruptive innovation. More interestingly, they’re applying a process of gradual quality improvement to the process of building a better theory for disruptive innovation (yes, you are reading this correctly: a lean process for theory building).

The forum is still empty at the moment; it just launched. But I’ll be following it’s progress. I’m expecting it to feature some great learning opportunities on the future of theory building, and education on entrepreneurship, and innovation.