Seeing What’s Next: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: June 9th, 2011 by bobmorris

Seeing What’s Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change
Clayton M. Christensen, Scott D. Anthony, and Erik A. Roth
Harvard Business School Press (2004)

Together with Erik A. Roth and Scott D. Anthony, offers in this volume further development of core concepts previously discussed in The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution. However, there is a substantial amount of new thinking and an abundance of new material. Although I strongly recommend that the two earlier works be read first, that is not a requirement to derive full benefit from Seeing What’s Next.

According to Christensen, “While the two previous books were aimed at managers inside firms who wanted to defend again or attack with a disruption, Seeing What’s Next is written for those who watch industries from the [in italics] outside, and who must make important decisions based on what they see. It will help executives, analysts, investors, and others who have a stake in a specific industry to evaluate the impact of innovations, the outcomes of competitive battles, and the moves made by individual firms — and to make smarter business decisions, forecasts, and stock recommendations based on those evaluations. The goal here [in Seeing What’s Next] is to dramatically increase the odds of getting things right in the arena where wrong decisions could be devastating.”

In a single volume, the authors guide and inform decision-makers in all manner of organizations as they embark on the three-part process by which to (1) identify signals of change, (2) evaluate competitive, head-to-head battles between companies loosely classified as “attackers” and “incumbents” (please see the Glossary), (3) formulate appropriate strategic choices that can influence the outcome of competitive battles, and (4) meanwhile establish and then sustain an effective relationship between innovation and non-market forces such as government regulation. Christensen, Anthony, and Roth are to be congratulated for what I consider to be a brilliant achievement. Since it was published five years ago, Seeing What’s Next has become a business book “classic.”

 

 

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