09 Jan 2019
Why New England Needs New Ideas
Clay Christensen and researchers from the Christensen Institute on the transformative power of innovationTopics:
In a recent piece in the Boston Globe Magazine, Professor Clay Christensen, Karen Dillon, a senior researcher at Christensen’s Institute for Disruptive Innovation, and Efosa Ojomo (MBA 2015), a research fellow at the Institute, use New England’s history of innovation to illustrate how new ideas can foster economic prosperity.
The trio offers the anecdote of Isaac Merritt Singer, a Charlestown-based printing machinery maker who became a sewing machine magnate thanks to a smart business model, a strategic sales approach, and consumer-friendly pricing structures. “Singer didn’t invent the sewing machine,” they write, “but his innovations contributed to the US economy in ways that cannot be overstated.”
They also note that New England has also seen the flip side of innovation, represented in the region’s “fading factory towns.” “What’s essential to remember is that an empty factory doesn’t have to be the end of economic opportunity in a community,” they write. “History has shown us, time and again, that real opportunity doesn’t require billions of dollars of investment or the backing of Silicon Valley or Boston. Successful innovation starts with identifying how to help people achieve something they’re finding difficult, more affordably.”
Class of MBA 2015, Section A