And the innovation story goes on. We’re seeing it currently in the Higher Education business. Traditional universities are expensive and inefficient as teaching institutions, but most of them persist in believing that their USPs are such that scrappy online alternatives will never pose a serious threat. And it’s true that at the moment most online offerings are still pretty chaotic, variable and uncoordinated. But if Christensen’s analysis is correct, the challengers will eventually prove “good enough” for many customers (especially as the costs of traditional university courses continue to escalate) — with the result that he observed all those decades ago in industries like disk storage and steel-making. Caveat vendor.
I am deeply sceptical of much business thinking, but Christensen’s work seems to in be a different league. He is also a spellbinding lecturer who, on the surface at least, seems to break all the rules about how to present ideas. If you follow this last link smile at the juxtaposition of the music and Christensen’s demeanour. But his model seems apposite for the changes that will sweep Higher Education. A book on this topic is here.