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The Innovator's Dilemma

When new technologies cause great firms to fail

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, first published in 1997, is the best-known work of the Harvard professor and businessman Clayton Christensen. It expands on the concept of disruptive technologies, a term he coined in a 1995 article "Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave". It describes how large incumbent companies lose market share by listening to their customers and providing what appears to be the highest-value products, but new companies that serve low-value customers with poorly developed technology can improve that technology incrementally until it is good enough to quickly take market share from established business. Christensen recommends that large companies maintain small, nimble divisions that attempt to replicate this phenomenon internally to avoid being blindsided and overtaken by startup competitors.

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