It was William Arthur Ward that said “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Profound. Prof Clayton Magleby Christensen who I got to know through Harvard Business School is not only a superior teacher but also a great one. Clayton didn’t go into academia early in his career. After receiving his MBA in 1979, he worked for Boston Consulting Group as a consultant and project manager. He also worked as an assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation before co-founding Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (now known as CPS Technologies) with several MIT professors. Clayton served as the company’s president and CEO. When he turned 40, he decided to leave the company and return to Harvard for doctoral study in business. He joined the Harvard Business School’s faculty immediately he completed his Doctor of Business Administration degree in 1992 and he went on to set a record by achieving the rank of “full” professor in only six years. Prof Christensen also went on to start Rose Park Advisors, a venture capital firm, and Innosight, a management consulting and investment firm specializing in innovation. In his seminal work – The Innovator’s Dilemma published in 1997, he described theory of “disruptive innovation” developed by him.
Clay divided innovation into three main types: sustaining innovation, low-end disruptive innovation and new-market disruptive innovation. He also argued that to get disruption to work in your favour you should follow the following guidelines:
- Disruption is typically an opportunity long before it’s a threat
- You must begin to innovate while your core business is still strong
- Allow disruptive business to run independently of the core business
- Spot disruption by observing customers at the bottom of the market.
- Protect your business by focusing on and integrating around the job to be done.
Sadly, Clayton died on January 23 2020 due to complications from leukemia. However, you can still get to learn from this great teacher if you register for Disruptive Strategy at Harvard Business School. As I think about Clayton, I also think about another Teacher. A Teacher of all Teachers. His name also starts with C – Christ. A Teacher that can never die. Christ, the Everlasting Teacher teaches us through His Holy Spirit everything we need to live a life of excellence and one full of glory and virtue. Learn from the Everlasting Teacher everyday as you eat and digest the Word of God!