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'Disruptive innovation' theorist Clayton Christensen dies at 67

Andrea Park – Friday, January 24th, 2020 Print  | Email

Clayton Christensen, who coined and defined the concept of disruptive innovation — often named among the most influential business theories of the 21st century — and who regularly applied that theory to the healthcare industry, died Jan. 23, the Deseret News reports.
Mr. Christensen, who was born in Salt Lake City in 1952, died in Boston at the age of 67 due to complications from treatment for leukemia, his brother told the Deseret News.
Mr. Christensen was the Kim B. Clark professor of business administration at Boston-based Harvard Business School, from which he also received his MBA and DBA degrees. He was named the world’s most influential management thinker twice by Thinkers50, and he reportedly counted Jeff Bezos, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Intel’s Andy Grove and the late Steve Jobs among the many proponents of his innovation theories.
Mr. Christensen’s work was also continually referenced by healthcare innovators, with many hospital innovation programs, for example, shaped around the framework he built.
Following the success of his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma, in which he outlined his groundbreaking theory of disruptive innovation, and several other business books, Mr. Christensen published The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care in 2016 with Jason Hwang, MD, co-founder and former executive director of healthcare at the Clayton Christensen Institute, and the late Jerome Grossman, MD, former president of Boston-based Tufts Medical Center.
“Clay leaves behind an incredible tree of researchers and acolytes and practitioners who will continue to not only spread what he learned in his lifetime but also continue to improve the theory, ultimately, and not only that theory but the other theories that Clay developed,” Michael Horn, co-founder of the Christensen Institute, told the Deseret News. “Clay was someone who believed that a theory was something you could continue to improve as more information and more understanding of the world came into view, and ideas shouldn’t stand still, in effect. It was more important to get truth than be right.”
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