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An Analysis Of The Innovator's Dilemma

The Innovator’s Dilemma — Even top notch leaders of the most successful companies will eventually be forced to make decisions which will seal their fate. Should the company continue to comfortably market a popular product obsessively, or should it focus on disruptive technology that will change the future?

There’s an adage which will always carry a lot of weight. The customer is always right. However, while your customer may always be right, your customer will never always stay satisfied. Consumers are always on the lookout for a new product which is better than the last one. The next bestselling product will be better suited to match their taxing demands.

Bestselling author Clayton M. Christensen addresses “The Innovator’s Dilemma” and how markets get changed in the process. In today’s rapidly changing evolution of technology, there’s only one thing to be certain of — and that is change. 

Christensen made the term disruptive technologies famous in 1995. What is disruptive technology? Disruptive technology is nothing short of pure innovation. It’s when a prodigy realizes that innovation will spark a new market and in the process will disrupt the dominant, existing market.

Sometimes change can happen within a generation. Change can happen almost overnight in some instances. There’s one variable that will remain — the inevitability of change. It’s part of the fluctuating economic cycle.

In his bestselling book, Christensen gives us the nuts and bolts of the business cycle itself. He gives us prime examples of where the biggest of companies have succeeded, while others have failed adequately. You’ll be surprised upon reading the book and discovering how certain household brands have established themselves, while others have completely vanished away.

The innovative developments of our day will astonish you if you stop and get a glimpse of the procedure. Executives are often forced into complying with closed, rigid systems. They also have to deal with profit margins.

What is obscure to the average consumer is that firms do frequently stumble when confronting technology. Executives do struggle with innovative technology, because they have to continually satisfy the hunger of their stockholders. But if that market eventually dries up, and it does happen, your company will cease to exist.

There’s a famous quote that describes one version of the leader’s struggle:

You can always tell who the pioneers are because they have arrows in their back and are lying face down in the dirt.

Christensen argues that while this thinking is conventionally popular, leadership roles are far more complex and timing is one of the most critical elements of any maneuver. While it is true that executives are only human and they do make mistakes, it is the brilliant ones that do the research and understand the profound impact of innovation.

Christensen evaluates the advancement of computer technology, retail, construction, and more.

The data he provides in the book relates to companies that have become synonymous with success. These are brands that are very recognizable; and they have left an enormous impact on societal function, as well as sociological behavior.

Human behavior is very difficult to predict; it’s even more difficult to market. Due to our hectic schedules, we seldom think about how companies evolve. In addition, we often fail to realize how their decisions affect our daily lives.

Christensen concludes that companies can thrive if they plan ahead, look for patterns in the market, and invest their time into doing adequate research.

For those companies that are capable of facing the vigorous challenge, they will be granted with the highest levels of achievement. The profits are much greater for those that are first in line. The risk is equally as great.

There’s a challenge that many successful companies will have to confront sooner or later. That decision is to remain with sustaining technology, or embrace disruptive technology. It’s “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

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