Forum teaches students to innovate


Clayton Christensen discussed his idea of disruptive innovation to BYU-Idaho students in a forum Feb. 16.

“No one has influenced my thinking more than Clay Christensen,” President Clark G. Gilbert said in his introduction of Christensen.

Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, is considered one of the world’s best innovative thinkers in business and received the Edison Achievement Award for his innovative contributions, according to BYU-I’s Instructional Development webpage.

In the forum, Christensen discussed his idea of disruptive innovation.

Christensen said disruptive innovation means bringing a product to a market that is much easier to use than what is already available.

Christensen said the role of disruption is to create growth.

“BYU-Idaho is the most remarkable example of a company that gives higher education,” Christensen said. “The focus of the faculty is to teach, and if you come here to BYU-I, then you have the best teachers in the world.”

Christensen said this low-cost strategy only works if there is a high price competitor, and, when it comes to higher education, there are plenty of competitors.

He said with this method, people who have less skills can do more and more complex tasks.

“I liked how he used many different examples to explain his topic,” said Bekah Burton, an attendant of the forum and a freshman studying history. “It made it more applicable to the people who weren’t business majors.”

Christensen said innovators have to be the best in the game to play.

He used the examples of the growth in the steel industry and medical equipment advancements to show how disruptive innovation works with smaller businesses entering the market with competitive products.

“I thought it was interesting when he brought up the histories of cars and how you can get immersed into that business,” Burton said.

Professor Christensen holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University and an M. Phil. in applied econometrics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an MBA and a DBA from the Harvard Business School, according to the Instructional Development webpage.



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