Revisiting the Definition of “Disruptive Innovation” and Why Uber and Tesla Don’t Meet it

UntitledBy Christian Kaiser

In 1995, Clayton M. Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, coined the term and theory “disruptive innovation.” This term has since become so popular in the tech startup world that most entrepreneurs use it in their pitch or when describing their business. The phrase “tech startup” is almost synonymous with disruptive innovation. However, as Prof. Christensen and his coauthors explain in their new article, many people, including top executives, are not using this term correctly and are misidentifying “disruptive” businesses. In his new article, Prof. Christensen explains the necessary conditions of “disruptive innovation” and applies them to Uber and Tesla, ultimately finding that neither is disruptive. In this blog article, I briefly address why it is important for lawyers working with technology to understand the theory of “disruptive innovation.” Continue reading