Clayton M. Christensen is 'The Survivor,' Forbes says

Published: Monday, Feb. 28 2011 9:54 p.m. MST

Clayton M. Christensen may like to think of himself as "just a guy from Rose Park".

But this week, that guy is on the cover of Forbes magazine.

Christensen, who is a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board, is the topic of an article titled "Clayton Christensen: The Survivor."

The 58-year-old Harvard Business School professor's 1997 book, "The Innovator's Dilemma," introduced the notion of "disruptive innovation, which explains how cheaper, simpler or unexpected products and services can bring down big companies like U.S. Steel, Xerox and Digital Equipment," the Forbes article says.

"Every day business leaders call him or make the pilgrimage to his office in Boston, Mass. to get advice or thank him for his ideas. A consulting firm he started popularizes his work, while a hedge fund run by one of his sons puts money to work betting on disruptive technologies."

However, the article says, the health care industry eluded Christensen's influence until 2009, when a book he wrote with two doctors, called "The Innovator's Prescription," was published.

The Forbes article goes on to talk about the relevance this topic had to Christensen in light of his own health history. Over the last few years, Forbes writer David Whelan says, Christensen has suffered "a heart attack followed by cancer followed by a stroke. For Christensen it was not a reason to get too upset. It was another opportunity, in a lifetime full of them, to gain insight into how to make the world work better."

It's not the first time Christensen has aimed for such a goal. As reported in the Deseret News, an article he wrote last year for the Harvard Business Review became an Internet sensation.

"I've concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn't dollars, but the individual people whose lives I've touched," wrote Christensen, who served an LDS mission to South Korea before becoming a Rhodes scholar. "I think that's the way it will work for us all. Don't worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people."

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