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January 29, 2020 at 8:37 am

Vedder in Forbes | Clayton M. Christensen, R.I.P.

Dr. Richard Vedder, portrait

Dr. Richard Vedder

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Economics at Ohio University, wrote a column at Forbes headlined “Clayton M. Christensen, R.I.P.

Like many professors raised in a liberal arts tradition, I generally do not think particularly highly or reverentially of business school faculty professing to explain how businesses click, what defines success, etc. One big exception, however, is Clayton M. Christensen, who took one big idea about the power of innovation to disrupt and change our lives, and ran with it. Professor Christensen sadly died recently after years of battling poor health, and it is worth reflecting a bit on his Big Idea. Before doing so, I should add that he was an extraordinary man in many other respects, being, for example, a Rhodes Scholar, an intensely religious person who even wrote books informed by his Mormon faith, a risk-taking investor, former company CEO, and a devoted family man.

Christensen is best known for popularizing the concept “disruptive innovation,” growing out of his 1997 highly regarded book The Innovator’s Dilemma. He then took this theme and applied it to several aspects of life (education, health care). Of particular relevant in this space was his 2011 book coauthored with Henry Eyring, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education.

Read his column at Forbes.

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