Global Economics

Disruptive


Clayton Christensen, professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, speaks during the Expomanagement conference in Mexico City, Mexico.

Photograph: Susana Gonzalez via Bloomberg News

Clayton Christensen, professor of Business Administration at Harvard University, speaks during the Expomanagement conference in Mexico City, Mexico.

The primary thesis of The Innovator’s Dilemma is that the management practices that allow companies to be leaders in mainstream markets are the same practices that cause them to miss the opportunities offered by disruptive technologies.
Clayton M. Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business, page 269, first edition, 1997.

If one more person tells me something is disruptive, I’m going to punch them. Disruptive is so over-the-top, oh-so in, it’s disruptive.

Professor Christensen, inventor of disruption, has so jumped the shark, Michael Porter and other Harvard worthies stand in disruptive awe. The Red Sox are disruptive. The Friday jobs report was disruptive. How bad is it? My colleague Sara Eisen had to go to Chicago, and the ride from O’Hare to downtown was disruptive. Sara! NOK-SEK is disruptive.

Green shoots.

OK, so words and phrases come and go. They have a moment. They reign. They disappear. Disruptive is disruptive because it shows no sign of fading away. It is like “synergy” or, even worse, the evolution of Thomas Kuhn’s “paradigm” through five—or was it six?—definitions.

Enough. I will now launch a disruptive thought.

Would all the eager users of “disruptive” please digest the professor’s esteemed résumé and possibly, just possibly, read his classic text? The movie is out Memorial Day, 2014. It is entitled … Disruptive. Discuss.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m. ET on 1130 AM in the New York metro area and nationally on SiriusXM 113.

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