Foundational to Clay Christensen’s body of work was the belief that the right lenses and models can enable people to make sense of innovation and make better decisions. In light of his passing, we feature here six of his must-read articles, including collaborations with colleagues from Innosight and the Christensen Institute.

 

Reinventing Your Business Model

Clayton Christensen, Mark Johnson and Henning Kagermann

“We have found that new business models often look unattractive to internal and external stakeholders—at the outset. To see past the borders of what is and into the land of the new, companies need a road map.”

 

Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”

Clayton Christensen, David Duncan, Taddy Hall, and Karen Dillon

“After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to hone in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done.”

 

How Disruptive Innovation Can Finally Revolutionize Healthcare

Clayton Christensen, Andrew Waldeck, and Rebecca Fogg

“New models of care coupled with payer models that incentivize their success can form the basis of the Disruptive Healthcare Delivery System. This new system would dramatically bring down costs by focusing care teams and consumers themselves around addressing the root causes of poor health tied to chronic conditions. The implications are far-reaching, as this new system changes the basis of competition in the economy’s largest sector, leading to new growth opportunities outside the scope of traditional healthcare delivery.”

 

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Clayton Christensen

“Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.”

 

The New M&A Playbook

Clayton Christensen, Richard Alton, Curtis Rising, and Andrew Waldeck

“Study after study puts the failure rate of mergers and acquisitions somewhere between 70% and 90%. A lot of researchers have tried to explain those abysmal statistics, usually by analyzing the attributes of deals that worked and those that didn’t. What’s lacking, we believe, is a robust theory that identifies the causes of those successes and failures.”

 

What is Disruptive Innovation?

 Clayton Christensen, Michael Raynor, and Rory McDonald

“The lessons we’ve learned about succeeding as a disruptive innovator (or defending against a disruptive challenger) are not useful to companies facing dissimilar circumstances. If we get sloppy with our labels or fail to integrate insights from subsequent research and experience into the original theory, then managers may end up using the wrong tools for their context, reducing their chances of success. Over time, the theory’s usefulness will be undermined.  This article is part of an effort to capture the state of the art.”