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Think Ahead

Spot the "disruptive innovations" that can make or break your business success.

Clayton M. Christensen has won fame for his thoughts about the revolutionary business ideas he calls "disruptive innovation." Now, in Seeing What's Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change (HBS Press, $29.95), Christensen and co-authors Scott D. Anthony and Erik A. Roth show how to spot upcoming disruptive innovations that may threaten your success-or ensure it.

The basic tool is a three-step process for predicting change in any industry. First, look for companies using new ways to reach underserved, overserved and unserved customers. Second, compare competitors to see who has the advantage in the coming disruption. Finally, watch these companies' strategic choices, and see how those choices affect their chances of surviving and prospering.

Like The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail and The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth, this is a challenging read. But if you liked Christensen's first two books and want more of the same, toss out your crystal ball, and pick up Seeing What's Next.

Caught in 'Tween

Children aged 8 to 12-aka tweens-represent a huge, profitable and unique market for purchases either influenced by them or made with their own money. So say youth-market experts David L. Siegel, Timothy J. Coffey and Gregory Livingston in The Great Tween Buying Machine: Capturing Your Share of the Multibillion Dollar Tween Market (Dearborn, $19.95). But you'll get little or none of their business if you treat tweens like kids, teens or adults. It takes a special touch to reach this market. For instance, successful products aren't marketed to parents but are designed to appease parents-because tweens still want Mom to approve. The authors distill a great deal of experience with clear examples and similarly useful rules that even grown-ups can understand.


Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Smart Moves" columnist.

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This article was originally published in the October 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Think Ahead.

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