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Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Innovator's Battle Plan by Clayton Christensen via HBSWK

Clayton Christensen has co-authored a new book titled - "Seeing What’s Next". The focus of the book is to emphasise factors that help an incumbent build on advantages to fortify its position and christnsen and co highlight this in two ways -positive contributors to growth and value destroyer traits. The authors write,"When companies have the same capabilities and motivation, they care about the battle and have the necessary skills to fight it. Skills in execution make the difference here".The more interesting scenarios occur when there are asymmetries—important differences of motivation or skills. Asymmetries of motivation occur when one firm wants to do something that another firm specifically does not want to do. Asymmetries of skills occur when one firm's strength is another firm's weakness. Christensen, the reigning guru of innovation, and co-author of this book, writes,"Asymmetries allow disruptive attackers to enter a market, grow without incumbent interference, and mitigate the incumbent's response when it is finally motivated to counterattack. The result of asymmetric battles often is the seemingly sudden end of a great firm. From the incumbent's perspective, every action it takes is rational. But the outcome is devastating. Disruption is the strategy that creates and capitalizes on asymmetries of motivation and skills." The idea is summed up as,"Incumbents tend to respond to potential disruptive incursions in one of three ways: they either cede a market, attempt growth-driven co-option, or attempt defensive co-option".Looks like a good book - the favourite Kodak example is also examined from this perspective.
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