The term disruptive technologies was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and introduced in his 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, which he co-wrote with Joseph Bower. The article is aimed at managing executives who make the funding/purchasing decisions in companies rather than the research community. He describes the term further in his book The Innovator's Dilemma. (1997) In his sequel, The Innovator's Solution, (2003) Christensen replaced disruptive technology with the term disruptive innovation because he recognized that few technologies are intrinsically disruptive or sustaining in character. It is the strategy or business model that the technology enables that creates the disruptive impact. The concept of disruptive technology continues a long tradition of the identification of radical technical change in the study of innovation by economists, and the development of tools for its management at a firm or policy level. However, Christensen's evolution from a technological focus to a business modelling focus is central to understanding the evolution of business at the market or industry level. For example, Christensen's contemporary emphasis on the applied business model rather than the technology itself was developed by Henry Chesbrough's pioneering notion of Open Innovation.
Christensen defines a disruptive innovation as a product or service designed for a new set of customers.
"Generally, disruptive innovations were technologically straightforward, consisting of off-the-shelf components put together in a product architecture that was often simpler than prior approaches. They offered less of what customers in established markets wanted and so could rarely be initially employed there. They offered a different package of attributes valued only in emerging markets remote from, and unimportant to, the mainstream."
Christensen argues that disruptive innovations can hurt successful, well managed companies that are