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 seven 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 the Christensen 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 eleven books and more than a hundred articles, including the recently released and New York Times best-selling, How Will You Measure Your Life?. 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 a poll of thousands of executives, consultants and business school professors, he was named as the most influential business thinker in the world in 2011 and again in 2013. In 2015, he was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Radiology at the Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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 seven grandchildren. 

Clayton M. Christensen In the News

30 Jun 2010
Harvard Business Review
17 Jun 2014
Harvard Magazine
14 Feb 2011
HBS Working Knowledge
15 Apr 2010
04 Aug 2011
24 Apr 2012
American Public Media: Marketplace
10 May 2012
Financial Times
14 May 2012
PBS: Charlie Rose Show
22 May 2012
NPR: On Point
04 Jun 2012
HBS Working Knowledge
07 Sep 2012
Financial Times
10 Sep 2012
HBS Alumni Bulletin
01 Nov 2012
Harvard Crimson
06 Dec 2012
Harvard Business Review
19 Feb 2013
Wall Street Journal
12 Mar 2013
Washington Post
06 May 2013
12 Sep 2013
Harvard Business Review
25 Oct 2013
Bloomberg Businessweek
03 Nov 2013
New York Times
19 Nov 2013
Bloomberg TV: Surveillance
02 Dec 2013
Chronicle of Higher Education
11 Mar 2014
American Public Media: Marketplace
12 Apr 2014
New York Times
09 May 2014
Boston Globe
20 May 2014
Harvard Business Review
01 Jul 2010
Harvard Business Review
16 Dec 2014
Foreign Affairs
17 Jul 2012
TEDx Boston
07 Mar 2012
HBR Blogs