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克里斯汀生:破壞性創新才能確保永續成長
2010/09/30 09:57
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文/Jessie湯

"There isn't anything about the process of innovation per se, that makes it unpredictable." – Clayton Christensen

管理學之父彼得.杜拉克(Peter Drucker)說:「不創新,就等死!」(innovate or die!),而美國哈佛商學院教授克雷頓.克里斯汀生(Clayton Christensen)則提出更進一步的說法,認為企業光是「創新」還不夠,必須發動以「夠好」(good enough)為核心精神的「破壞性創新」(disruptive innovation),才能確保企業永續生存。克里斯汀生也因為這項「破壞性」的創見,被譽為「當代最具影響力的創新大師」。

克里斯汀生是在1997年出版《創新者的兩難》(The Innovator’s Dilemma)一書時,提出「破壞性創新」理論,其基本定義如下:

Disruptive innovation describes a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves “up market”, eventually displacing established competitors.

An innovation that is disruptive allows a whole new population of consumers access to a product or service that was historically only accessible to consumers with a lot of money or a lot of skill. 

克里斯汀生在接受記者訪問時,做了如下更清楚的解釋:

“A disruptive innovation brings to market a product not as good as the products in the current market, and so it cannot be sold to the mainstream customers. But it is simple and it is more affordable. It takes root in an undemanding portion of the market, then improves from that simple beginning to intercept with the needs of customers in the mainstream later.”

“I call that a disruptive innovation not because it's a breakthrough from a technological sense, but instead of sustaining the trajectory of improvement that has been established in a market, it disrupts it and redefines it by bringing to the market something that is simpler.”

“Internet telephony--the packet-switching technology developed by Cisco and others--wasn't good enough to be used in the voice telecommunications market, so it took root in a less demanding application, data transmission. Little by little, it got better and better and now you can send a voice signal over the Internet. That's a good example of a disruptive innovation.”

克里斯汀生指出,過去企業習慣在原有產品的發展下,維持「漸進式」(Incremental)的創新(讓產品不斷改善及更新),或者是「激進式」(Radical)的創新(發展不同的技術),不論「漸進式」或「激進式」創新,目的都是在改善既有產品的性能,因此統稱為「延續性創新」(sustaining innovation),「延續性創新」自然而然地會驅使企業逐步往高階市場發展。

Because companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ lives change, most organizations eventually end up producing products or services that are too good, too expensive, and too inconvenient for many customers. By only pursuing “sustaining innovations” that perpetuate what has historically helped them succeed, companies unwittingly open the door to “disruptive innovations”.

反觀許多沒有大資本、高階技術和「成功包袱」的小企業,就比較有機會和意願,推出「比既有產品更差」或「只比沒有好一點」的產品,許多「破壞性創新」的成果因而冒出頭來,包括:網路電話skype、電子閱讀機Kindle、世界最大的B2B網站阿里巴巴、華碩電腦首掀的小筆電創舉Eee PC、在中國掀起風潮的山寨機、低價聞名的印度塔塔汽車,以及全球發燒的社群網站Facebook。毫無疑問地,「破壞性創新」改變了企業之間的競爭模式,強者不見得更強,新進者也不見得永遠處於弱勢。

隨著市場汰舊換新速度加快、企業之間競爭激烈,克里斯汀生的理論益發獲得各產業領導者的重視,不斷思考,要怎樣才能催生出「破壞式創新」的產品或服務?

克里斯汀生認為,要產生「破壞式創新」,必須從客戶的生活情境去思考,推出符合客戶使用情境的產品,以增加產品推出的成功率。畢竟,「A customer will never lead you to develop a product which that customer cannot use.」他說。

但是,他也發現,許多頂尖的企業無時無刻不保持警覺,專心聆聽客戶的聲音,積極地投資新科技來滿足客戶需要,但是在面對科技與市場結構的變遷時,仍喪失了既有的領導地位,其原因就在於它們把所有的投資與科技都集中在開發現有重要客戶最需要、可以創造最大利潤的產品上,許多能決定企業存續的「突破性科技」(disruptive technology),則因遭到這些主流客戶的排斥而放棄。

“If you're looking to start a new-growth business, very often, the most important customers to understand are non-customers. Because if you figure out why it is they're not customers, and then bring an innovation that allows them now to become customers, that's what growth comes from.”

這就是創新的兩難-貼近主流客戶的需求對現在的成功非常重要,但是長期的成長與獲利卻是依靠另一種完全不同的經營模式。因此,管理者為了要創造出這個新的事業模式,必須發展另外一個不同的組織,讓這個組織專心進行「破壞」。

“If the organization or the business unit charged with serving the installed base is also asked to go after non-customers with the more affordable, simpler product, they can't do it. Because the business models are so different, and small customers with the lower priced product -- it's not an attractive financial -- it doesn't solve the financial goals of an established business unit. Almost always, this new game begins before the old game ends. If you somehow create a strong economic incentive for the management of the existing business unit to go after the new disruptive opportunity, you take your eye off the main profit and cash engine of the company, and you stumble very quickly. And yet, while that is still going, you've got to get your foothold in the new market. And that's why it's just really important to set up a separate unit.”(本文同步刊於99/9/25工商時報)

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