Clayton M. Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation and growth.
Professor Christensen holds a BA with highest honors in economics from Brigham Young University (1975) and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University (1977), where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979 and graduated as a George F. Baker Scholar. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992.
Christensen has served as a director on the boards of a number of public and private companies. He is currently a board member at Tata Consulting Services (NSE: TCS), Franklin Covey (NYSE: FC), W.R. Hambrecht, and Vanu Inc. Christensen also serves on Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC), and has advised the executives of many of the world’s major corporations. They generate tens of billions of dollars in revenues every year from product and service innovations that were inspired by his research.
From 1979 to 1984 Christensen worked as a consultant and project manager with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), where he was instrumental in founding the firm’s manufacturing strategy consulting practice. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow and served through 1983 (on a leave of absence from BCG) as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole.
Christensen is an experienced entrepreneur as he has started three successful companies. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, Professor Christensen served as chairman and president of CPS Technologies a firm he co-founded with several MIT professors in 1984. CPS is a leading developer of products and manufacturing processes using high-technology metals and ceramics such as silicon nitride, silicon carbide, and aluminum oxide.
In 2000, Christensen founded Innosight, a consulting firm that uses his theories of innovation to help companies create new growth businesses. In 2007, he founded Rose Park Advisors, a firm that identifies and invests in disruptive companies. Christensen is also the founder of Christensen Institute, a non-profit think tank whose mission is to apply his theories to vexing societal problems such as health care and education.
Professor Christensen became a faculty member at the Harvard Business School in 1992, and was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998, becoming the first professor in the school’s modern history to achieve tenure at such an accelerated pace.
Professor Christensen is the bestselling 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, and The Innovator’s Prescription (2009) examines how to fix our health-care system. Four of his five books have received awards as the best books in their categories in the years of their publication.
Professor Christensen’s writings have been featured in a variety of publications, and have won a number of awards, such as the Best Dissertation Award from The Institute of Management Sciences for his doctoral thesis on technology development in the disk drive industry; the Production and Operations Management Society’s William Abernathy Award, presented to the author of the best paper in the management of technology; the Newcomen Society’s award for the best paper in business history; and the 1995, 2001, 2008 and 2009 McKinsey Awards for articles published in the Harvard Business Review.
Professor Christensen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973 and speaks fluent Korean. He continues to serve in his church in a variety of ways and is extensively involved in other activities in the community. He has served the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years as a scoutmaster, cubmaster, den leader, and troop and pack committee chairman. He and his wife Christine live in Belmont, MA. They are the parents of five children.