Celebrating its 85th anniversary, Bloomberg Businessweek announced its take on “The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History.” The focus of its current issue and noted at a party that drew George Lucas, Henry Kissinger, Harvey Weinstein, Mort Zuckerman, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Martha Stewart, and MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, the impactful and eclectic mix from the past 85 years lists concepts and inventions that have changed the way we live and conduct business, including: TV, e-mail, Starbucks, Napster, gay marriage, perestroika, refrigeration, junk bonds, the Pill, Air Jordans, billable hours, the jet engine, and a book.
Making the cut and clocking in at #58 on the #Businessweek85 is The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, who coined the now-ubiquitous term “disruptive innovation” in his book about why well-managed companies often fail.
Writing about its central theme, he told Businessweek:
“I decided to study the disk-drive industry on a tip from one of my faculty members, who said he knew nothing except that successful disk-drive companies had failed over and over again. They were the fruit flies of business: At the time, I was living essentially in the Motel 6 on First Street in San Jose. It was about 7 o’clock one night, and I had gone across the street to have dinner at McDonald’s. And I was going back to Motel 6, and in the middle of the street it just fell into place—and I realized why the low end wins so frequently.
“This phenomenon that I call disruption is one that allows a larger population, people who historically didn’t have enough money to buy a product, to afford something like it. That creates growth. The puzzle was, if this is what creates growth, why don’t the leaders in the industry go after it? I realized that every company has a business model, and they can invest in things that help them make money in the way their business model is structured. If innovation doesn’t allow them to make more money in the way they’re structured to make money, they can’t do it. It had nothing to do with technological change. Once I had that, I could see it happen everywhere. That was the real epiphany.”
Nice to see the power of the written word holding its own.