Clayton M. Christensen

Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School; and is regarded as one of the world's top experts on innovation and growth.

Professor Christensen holds a B.A. 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, graduating as a George F. Baker Scholar. In 1982 Professor Christensen was named a White House Fellow, and served through 1983 as assistant to U.S. Transportation Secretaries Drew Lewis and Elizabeth Dole. He was awarded his DBA from the Harvard Business School in 1992. Professor Christensen became a faculty member there in 1992, and was awarded a full professorship with tenure in 1998. He holds five honorary doctorates and an honorary chaired professorship at the Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

Christensen has served as a director of many companies, and has advised the executives of scores of the world's major corporations. These companies generate tens of billions of dollars in revenues every year from product and service innovations that were inspired by his research.

Christensen, an experienced entrepreneur, has started four successful companies. Prior to joining the HBS faculty, in 1984 he and three MIT professors founded CPS Technologies, which has become a leading developer and manufacturer of products from high-technology materials.

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. He is also the founder of Innosight Institute, a non-profit think tank whose mission is to apply his theories to vexing societal problems such as healthcare and education.

Professor Christensen is the best-selling author of eight books and more than a hundred articles. 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. Five times he has received the McKinsey Award, given to the two best articles published in the Harvard Business Review each year; and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tribeca Films Festival (2010). He has been featured twice (1998 and 2011) as the cover story in Forbes Magazine. 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.

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; speaks fluent Korean; and continues to serve in his church in as many ways as he can. He served 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, MA. They are the parents of five children and grandparents to five grandchildren.

  1. Winner of a 2015 Edison Achievement Award for contributions to the world of innovation.

  2. Ranked as the most influential business thinker in the world in the 2011 and 2013 Thinkers50 lists.

  3. Won the 2011 Thinkers50 Innovation Award for his application of disruptive innovation to the social issues of education and healthcare. The biennial award recognizes a management thinker who has “reshaped the way we think about and practice innovation.”

  4. Received the 2010 James A. Hamilton Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives for the book (with Jerome H. Grossman M.D. and Jason Hwang M.D.) The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care (McGraw-Hill, 2009). Given annually, the award honors a management or healthcare book deemed most outstanding.

  5. Received the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Disruptive Innovation at the Tribeca Film Festival.

  6. Co-winner of the 2013 Silver Axiom Business Book Award in the Success/Motivation/Coaching category from the Independent Publisher Association for How Will You Measure Your Life? with James Allworth and Karen Dillon (Harper Business, 2012).

  7. Received the 2009 Big Picture Award in recognition of his work in the field of disruptive innovation in public education. This was the inaugural award for creative innovation in education given by Big Picture Learning.

  8. Received the Second Place McKinsey Award for the best article in Harvard Business Review during 2009 for the paper "The Innovator's DNA" (with Jeffrey H. Dyer and Hal B. Gregersen)