Examples were everywhere, most notably Sony, Honda and Toyota; the minimills in the steel industry; the succession of minicomputers, personal computers and notebook computers; even the community college movement. They all delivered what Professor Christensen labeled "disruptive innovations," as opposed to "sustaining innovations," improvements to make top-of-the-line products even better.
Let's think about this in the context of the eLearning marketplace. Who are the senior players, those who've had the opportunity to get to version 3.0 and beyond? Off the top, I think of:
These companies are all working hard to deliver what their customers are asking for. In Christensen's view, this renders them vulnerable. This is inevitable.
The only way to escape this vicious cycle is through "generating a consistent flow of disruptive innovations." That's the topic on Christensen's new book, The Innovator's Solution.
Remember, the dilemma comes about because a replacement technology slips in under the radar because the established players don't respect it as worthy.
You get the idea.
Any established vendor that doesn't nurture innovations that depart from the norm will be in decline within a few years. Set up a portfolio of skunk-works projects. Now. This takes more than thinking out of the box; it requires funding and setting up totally independent boxes to think in.
If Christensen's message in the eLearning context is unclear, wire three thousand dollars to Internet Time Group LLC. We'll join you for a day on the island of your choice to help you figure it out.
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