Speakers Bios & Abstracts

Platzhalter Speakers
Clayton Christensen

Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School


Clayton Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches one of the most popular elective classes for second year students, Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise. He is regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth and his ideas have been widely used in industries and organizations throughout the world. A 2011 cover story in Forbes magazine noted that ‘’Everyday business leaders call him or make the pilgrimage to his office in Boston, Mass. to get advice or thank him for his ideas.’’ In 2011 in a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors, Christensen was named as the most influential business thinker in the world.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Clay worked as a missionary for his church in the Republic of Korea from 1971 to 1973, where he learned to speak fluent Korean. He continues to serve in his church in as many ways as he can.

Professor Clayton received his B.A. in economics, summa cum laude, from Brigham Young University and an M.Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He subsequently received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School in 1979, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow, and served as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992, and became a faculty member there the same year, eventually receiving full professorship with tenure in 1998. He holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Prior to his academic career, Clayton worked as a management consultant with BCG in their Boston office and helped co-found Ceramics Process Systems, a Massachusetts-based advanced materials company. He has subsequently helped establish many other successful enterprises, including the innovation consulting firm Innosight, the public policy think tank Innosight Institute, and the boutique investment firm Rose Park Advisors.

Clay is the best-selling author of nine books and more than a hundred articles. His first book, The Innovator’s Dilemma received the Global Business Book Award as the best business book of the year (1997); and in 2011 The Economist named it as one of the six most important books about business ever written. His other articles and books have received the Abernathy, Newcomen, James Madison, and Circle Prizes. Clay is a five-time recipient of the McKinsey Award, given each year to the two best articles published in the Harvard Business Review; and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tribeca Films Festival (2010).

Clay has served on the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years as a scoutmaster, cubmaster, den leader, troop and pack committee chairman. He and his wife Christine live in Belmont, Massachusetts. They are the parents of five children and grandparents to five grandchildren.

2013 and 2011: Ranked #1 in the Thinkers50, the global biannual ranking of management thinkers


The Capitalist’s Dilemma

“The Capitalist’s Dilemma” explored in a recent HBR article is the widespread recognition that “doing the right thing for long-term prosperity is the wrong thing for most investors.” Frame that problem in the right way and you have more than an explanation of how we arrived at this point. You begin to see a path toward solutions.
This is the highest purpose of a management scholar’s career: to arrive at clarifying constructs that help real managers address the thorniest problems they face. Good theory begins with rich engagement in the messy reality of organizations. Only avid “dumpster diving” yields the good data on which useful theories can be built. This willingness to engage with confusing, ground-level problems is the key to Peter Drucker’s success in influencing the practice of management. In every element of a manager’s life, Drucker gave us a construct that allows us to think about things differently.
Can more insightful management save us in an era of declining returns from technological breakthroughs? Yes, but today, too many managers have resigned themselves to not matter. To overcome barriers to prosperity like the capitalist’s dilemma, all of us must think more like Drucker, not only engaging in the daily fray, but drawing on it to frame what is going on in the world.