Clayton M. Christensen

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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 63)
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
Religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
Spouse(s) Christine
Children 5

Clayton M. Christensen (born April 6, 1952) is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School (HBS), with 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 Innosight, a management consulting and investment firm specializing in innovation.[2]

Early life[edit]

Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of eight children. He holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (BYU) (1975), a M.Phil. in applied econometrics and the economics of less-developed countries from Oxford University (1977, Rhodes Scholar), an MBA with high distinction from the HBS (1979, George F. Baker Scholar), and a DBA from the HBS (1992). While at Oxford, Christensen, who stands 6 feet 8 inches tall,[3] was the starting center for the men's basketball team.[4]


Before joining the faculty of Harvard Business School (HBS) in 1992, Christensen worked for the Boston Consulting Group and then served as chairman and president of Ceramics Process Systems Corporation (now CPS Holdings), a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. In 2000, he founded Innosight LLC, a consulting and training firm which describes itself as "focusing on idea generation, strategy development, commercialization, and innovative process development." In 2005, together with his colleagues at Innosight, he launched Innosight Ventures, a venture firm focused on investing in India. In 2007, after incubating the processes for six years, Christensen 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.

He worked as a consultant and project leader with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) (1979–1984) and was instrumental in founding the firm's manufacturing strategy consulting practice. He took a leave of absence from BCG to serve as a White House Fellow (1982–1983) as an assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries, Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.

At HBS, he currently teaches an elective course he designed called "Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise", which teaches managers how to build and manage an enduring, successful company or transform an existing organization. Christensen received an Extraordinary Teaching Award by the MBA class of 2010. He also teaches in many HBS 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, Christensen has focused the lens of disruptive innovation on 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[edit]

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[7] From 1971 to 1973 he served as a missionary in the Republic of 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[edit]


Journal articles authored or coauthored by Christensen[edit]

Books authored or coauthored by Christensen[edit]


  1. ^ Christensen 1997.
  2. ^ Wieners, Bradford (3 May 2012). "Clay Christensen's Life Lessons". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Whelan, David (2011). "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor". Forbes. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Decisions for Which I've Been Grateful". BYU-Idaho. 2004. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Clayton M. Christensen - Faculty - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2013-05-06. 
  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. 
  7. ^ "Why I Belong, Why I Believe". 
  8. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  9. ^ "New Area Authority Seventies", Church News, April 20, 2002, retrieved 2013-02-15 
  10. ^ "Comments on my health". 
  11. ^ Whelan, David (14 March 2011). "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor -". Forbes. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Clayton Christensen - My Health". Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  13. ^ "The Innovative University – Changing the DNA of Higher Education © 2011". (Jossey-Bass). 
  14. ^ Whelan, David (2011-02-23). "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor". Forbes. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Clayton M. Christensen receives Herbert Simon Award". Official Page of Rajk CfAS's Herbert Simon Award. 10 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014. [unreliable source?]
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External links[edit]