This site uses cookies to provide you with a more responsive and personalized service. By using this site you agree to our use of cookies. Please read our cookie notice for more information on the cookies we use and how to delete or block them.

Bookmark Email Print this page

About the Book

The Innovator's Manifesto


Here's a closer look at the book, as well as an excerpt with the foreword, prologue and first chapter.

Executive summary

The first objective of this book is to demonstrate that Disruption has true predictive power. The Innovator’s Manifesto demonstrates this through controlled experiments – for most people, the most persuasive evidence there is when it comes to prediction.

Second, this book makes the case for Disruption’s unique and superior explanatory power. It lays out a definition of Disruption precise enough that Disruptive innovations can be accurately identified in advance of knowing how they ultimately fare and their results in the marketplace explained more fully and parsimoniously than by any other theory.

Finally, it offers thoughts on how one can go about applying these concepts to the greatest effect at the least expense.

Chapter summaries

Chapters one and two
The Innovator’s Manifesto
starts by describing the design and results of carefully controlled experiments testing the predictive power of Disruption’s central claims: that an innovation has the best chance of success when it has a very different performance profile and appeals to customers of relatively little interest to dominant incumbents and the organization commercializing it enjoys substantial strategic and operational autonomy. In contrast, attempts to introduce better-performing solutions targeted at customers valued by successful incumbents will fail.

The evidence in these first two chapters supports the claim that Disruption actually “treats the condition”: it improves predictive accuracy. Raynor hasn’t shown that Disruption works better than any other drug; that requires comparing the relative effectiveness of two drugs. At the same time, however, as far as Raynor knows, no one has shown that any other drug actually treats the condition at all. His goal is to show that Disruption can claim more legitimately than any other theory to make you better than you are with respect to one critically important decision: assessing which businesses will live or die.

Chapters three, four and five
A common challenge in research of any kind and certainly in the field of applied management, is determining the extent to which one can “generalize beyond the sample.” Thankfully, we can claim a credible understanding of what will happen in circumstances we have not tested directly if we have a correct understanding of why results turn out as they do. In reality, as is often the case, such judgments are not binary: one is more or less justified in generalizing beyond the sample depending on the sample, what one hopes to generalize and how far beyond the sample one wishes to go.

Chapters three through five explore the extent to which other types of people in different circumstances can do anything with these findings by making the case for Disruption’s explanatory power. Unlike the tests of predictive power, this entails a direct comparison of the explanatory power of Disruption with the explanatory power of competing theories when accounting for specific outcomes.

In chapter three, Raynor explores Southwest Airlines as a test case, focusing on the airline’s performance over time. Chapter four goes on to describe how to determine whether or not a given opportunity has even the potential to be Disruptive. The key message here is that an integral part of Disruption theory is the criteria for determining when it is applicable. Having defined the circumstances under which Disruption is possible, chapter five addresses how to assess the timing and extent of Disruption. For example, why did Disruption take so long in the automotive sector and so quickly in telecommunications equipment?

This second section makes the case for generalizing beyond the experimental sample and suggests that Disruption can be used to do more than merely “pick a winner.”

Chapters six, seven and eight
Whatever scientific rigor and theoretical elegance might characterize Disruption, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And so how to apply Disruption successfully is addressed next. Chapter six is an exploration of how Disruption can be used to shape a specific product innovation.

It is a fact that non-Disruptive innovations can succeed and that breakthroughs by new entrants sometimes revolutionize an industry – something that Disruption theory cannot account for. Consequently, chapter seven explores the implications of deliberately pursuing this sort of unexpected (to Disruption theory, at least) success for specific management processes. In other words, where chapter six explores how to use Disruption to shape a single project, chapter seven looks at how Disruption might fit into a broader portfolio of innovations.

Finally, chapter eight takes a process perspective on the application of Disruption. Is Disruption a theory that can be plugged into existing ways of thinking about and fostering innovation, or is a fundamental shift in mind-set required to make the most of what Disruption implies? The examples and tools in these chapters are intended to start you – whether you are an investor, an entrepreneur, a manager, or a corporate M&A strategist – down the road to using Disruption effectively.

Copyright © 2011 by Michael E. Raynor. All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Download the PDF below to read the foreword, prologue and first chapter.

For additional information about the book or to contact the author, please e-mail

Related links

Share this page

Email this Send to LinkedIn Send to Facebook Tweet this More sharing options

Stay connected