One industry that always eluded Christensen's influence was health care. Caregivers and insurers told him his theories didn't apply to their complex industry. Christensen knew they were wrong. His investigation culminated in his 2009 book, The Innovator's Prescription, written with two doctors. It exposed the many ways health care was broken and recommended numerous ways it can be systematized and disrupted the same way mainframes gave way to PCs and now iPhones.
Clayton Christensen, 58, is one of the most influential business theorists of the last 50 years. The Harvard Business School professor's 1997 book, The Innovator's Dilemma, introduced in elegant terms 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. 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.
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