Aug 8, 2023
"In our view, the crux of the problem is that investments in different types of innovation affect economies (and companies) in very different ways – but are evaluated using the same (flawed) metrics. Specifically, financial markets – and companies themselves – use assessment metrics that make innovations that eliminate jobs more attractive than those that create jobs.” This quote comes from the 2014 HBR article that Clayton Christensen and Derek van Bever co-authored, entitled The Capitalist’s Dilemma. As you’ll hear in this conversation, the article is as relevant today as it was when it was first published nearly a decade ago. In this episode – originally recorded as part of Aidan McCullen’s three month series on The Innovation Show dedicated to Clay’s life and work - Derek joins Aidan to discuss a number of topics related to the article's main theme, that being the assertion that “the tools we use to guide our investments are blind to the best opportunities for creating new jobs and new markets.” For instance, Derek considers how our behavior, in interacting with metrics, can often lead to unfortunate consequences; the pull of established markets; the different types of innovation (performance-improving, efficiency, and market-creating) and their respective impacts on growth; the scarcity of long-term investors; and the challenges faced by corporate innovators, to cite but a few examples. Also discussed are potential solutions to the capitalist's dilemma, along with the observation that if people understand the dilemma, they are then better equipped to respond to the challenges that it presents.