Clayton M. Christensen

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Clayton M. Christensen
Clayton Christensen World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Christensen at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Born (1952-04-06) April 6, 1952 (age 66)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Nationality United States
Alma mater Brigham Young University (B.A.)
Oxford University (M.Phil.)
Harvard University (MBA, DBA)
Occupation Teacher & consultant
Known for The Innovator's Dilemma
Spouse(s) Christine
Children 5

Clayton M. Christensen (born April 6, 1952) is an American scholar, educator, author, business consultant, and religious leader who currently serves as the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School (HBS), having a joint appointment in the Technology & Operations Management and General Management faculty groups. He is best known for his study of innovation in commercial enterprises. His first book, The Innovator's Dilemma,[1] articulated his theory of disruptive innovation. Christensen is also a co-founder of Rose Park Advisors, a venture capital firm, and Innosight, a management consulting and investment firm specializing in innovation.[2]

Early life and education

Clayton Christensen was born on April 6, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of eight children born to Robert Christensen and his wife, Verda Mae.[3] He grew up in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City and attended the nearby West High School, where he was student body president.[3] Christensen and his siblings were raised as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

After graduating from high school in 1970, Christensen matriculated at Brigham Young University (BYU). While at BYU, he took a two-year leave of absence from 1971 to 1973 to serve as a volunteer full-time missionary for the LDS Church. He was assigned to serve in South Korea and became a fluent speaker of Korean. After completing his missionary service, Christensen returned to BYU, graduating in 1975 with an Honors B.A. summa cum laude in economics. He received a Rhodes Scholarship and spent two years studying applied econometrics at Oxford University, receiving a M.Phil. in 1977. An avid basketball player who stands 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) tall, Christensen was the starting center on the men's basketball team during his time at Oxford.[4] Christensen left England in 1977 and moved to Harvard University to pursue an MBA at the Harvard Business School, which he earned with high distinction in 1979.


After receiving his MBA in 1979, Christensen left Harvard and began working for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a consultant and project manager.[3] From 1982 to 1983, he took a leave of absence from BCG to work in Washington, D.C. as an assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, serving under Drew Lewis and then Elizabeth Dole. In 1984, he and several professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology founded an advanced ceramics company called Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (now known as CPS Technologies). Christensen served as its president and CEO through the late 1980s, then decided to leave the company and become a university professor. He returned to Harvard for doctoral study in business, receiving a Doctor of Business Administration degree in 1992. After completing his doctorate, Christensen joined the Harvard Business School faculty and set a record by achieving the rank of "full" professor in only six years.[3]

In 2000, he founded Innosight LLC, a consulting and training firm. In 2005, together with his colleagues at Innosight, he launched Innosight Ventures, a venture firm focused on investing in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. In 2007, he co-founded Rose Park Advisors LLC (named after the neighborhood in Salt Lake City where he was raised), an investment company which applies his research as an investment strategy.

He serves on the board of directors of Tata Consultancy Services (NSE: TCS), Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC), and Vanu, Inc.

At HBS, he teaches an elective course he designed called "Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise", which teaches how to build and manage an enduring, successful company or transform an existing organization, and also in many of the school's executive education programs. Christensen was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998, and currently holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the National Tsinghua University in Taiwan. [5]

Christensen is the best-selling author of five books, including his seminal work The Innovator's Dilemma (1997), which received the Global Business Book Award for the best business book of the year, The Innovator's Solution (2003), and Seeing What's Next (2004). Recently, he has discussed social issues such as education and health care. Disrupting Class (2008) looks at the root causes of why schools struggle and offers solutions, while The Innovator's Prescription (2009) examines how to fix the American healthcare system. The latter two books have received numerous awards as the best books on education and health care in their respective years of publication. The Innovator's Prescription was also awarded the 2010 James A. Hamilton Award, by the College of Healthcare Executives.[5]

Personal life

Christensen lives in Belmont, Massachusetts with his wife, Christine. They have five children, including Matthew who played college basketball at Duke University and was a member of the 2001 National Championship team.[6] Christensen is a member of the LDS Church.[7] From 1971 to 1973 he served as a missionary for the church in Korea and speaks fluent Korean.[8] He has served in several leadership positions in the LDS Church. He served as an area seventy from 2002 to 2009. Prior to that he served as a counselor in the presidency of the Massachusetts Boston Mission. He has also served as a bishop.[9]

In February 2010, Christensen announced that he had been diagnosed with follicular lymphoma.[10] In July 2010, he had an ischemic stroke.[11][12]

Despite Christensen’s health setbacks, he is once again actively teaching, speaking and writing. In 2011, Christensen published two books: The Innovative University[13] and The Innovator’s DNA (Harvard Business Press).

Honors and awards


Journal articles authored or coauthored by Christensen

  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Bower, Joseph L. (January–February 1995), "Disruptive technologies: catching the wave", Harvard Business Review. The seminal article.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Overdorf, Michael (March–April 2000), "Meeting the challenge of disruptive change", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Bohmer, Richard; Kenagy, John (September–October 2000), "Will disruptive innovations cure health care?", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Cook, Scott; Hall, Taddy (December 2005), "Marketing malpractice: the cause and the cure", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Marx, Matthew; Stevenson, Howard H. (October 2006), "The tools of cooperation and change", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Baumann, Heiner; Ruggles, Rudy; Sadtler, Thomas M. (December 2006), "Disruptive innovation for social change", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M. (July–August 2010), "How will you measure your life?", Harvard Business Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Books authored or coauthored by Christensen

  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Raynor, Michael E. (2003), The innovator's solution: creating and sustaining successful growth, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Press, ISBN 978-1-57851-852-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M. (2003), Innovation and the general manager, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business Press, ISBN 978-0-07-365915-2. A casebook. Designed as a practical tool to help managers.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Anthony, Scott D.; Roth, Erik A. (2004), Seeing what's next: using the theories of innovation to predict industry change, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Press, ISBN 978-1-59139-185-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Horn, Michael (2008), Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns, New York, New York, USA: McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-159206-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Grossman, Jerome H.; Hwang, Jason (2008), The innovator's prescription: a disruptive solution for health care, New York, New York, USA: McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-159208-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Eyring, Henry J. (2011), The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education, New York, New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-1-11-806348-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M.; Allworth, James; Dillon, Karen (2012), How Will You Measure Your Life?, New York, New York, USA: HarperBusiness, ISBN 9780062102416.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Christensen, Clayton M. (2013), The Power of Everyday Missionaries, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA: Deseret Book, ISBN 1609073169. The What and How of Sharing the Gospel.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. Christensen 1997.
  2. Wieners, Bradford (3 May 2012). "Clay Christensen's Life Lessons". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 30 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 de Groote, Michael (27 Nov 2010). "Clayton Christensen: Just a Guy from Rose Park". Deseret News. Retrieved 9 Dec 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Decisions for Which I've Been Grateful". BYU-Idaho. 2004. Retrieved 16 February 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Clayton M. Christensen - Faculty - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2013-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Toone, Trent (25 January 2012). "Mormons in the ACC: Tar Heel guard plans to serve mission, while former Duke center reflects on career". Deseret News. Retrieved 19 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Why I Belong, Why I Believe".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Biography". Retrieved 2013-02-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "New Area Authority Seventies", Church News, April 20, 2002, retrieved 2013-02-15<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Comments on my health".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Whelan, David (14 March 2011). "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor -". Forbes. Retrieved 10 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Clayton Christensen - My Health". Retrieved 10 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "The Innovative University – Changing the DNA of Higher Education © 2011". (Jossey-Bass). Missing or empty |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Whelan, David (2011-02-23). "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor". Forbes.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Clayton M. Christensen receives Herbert Simon Award". Official Page of Rajk CfAS's Herbert Simon Award. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[unreliable source?]

External links