Clayton Christensen Q&A

Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

An IEEE Spectrum Radio Special
26 minutes, 11.9mb, recorded 2008-08-01

Clayton Christensen tells all about his work at a semiconductor fabrication plant which was in a need of a rethink. On this edition of IEEE Spectrum Radio, the Harvard Business School Professor of Business Administration, and author of "The Innovator's Dilemma," outlines his principles for making the world more efficient.

While working on the root causes of systemic failures and inefficiencies, Christensen noted four major principles to consider when designing fabrication systems: never do anything until it is ready for use; produce items for one-to-one, not one-to-many pathways; use the exact same method consistently; and avoid the frontier of design as much as possible.

Much of Christensen's work was influenced by the importance of getting products to market, and the increasing desire to have custom designs produced in shorter amounts of time. Christensen explains how the semiconductor industry is adapting to a more fragmented market, with needs for lower volume, and larger market drivers. 

Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, 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, articulated his theory of disruptive technology.

Christensen holds a B.A. with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (1975), an 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 Harvard Business School (1979, George F. Baker Scholar), and a DBA from the Harvard Business School (1992).


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