Product Science aims to bring innovation science to the masses.

We would be remiss not to include our friend and the patron saint of innovation theory Clay Christensen and his disciples for connecting and inspiring us to take on this task. Two decades ago, Clay started a class at Harvard Business School that would eventually set the standard for teaching the principles of innovation. Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise stood the test of time to this day as “the most practical business theory class you’ll ever take”. Taught using the case method, BSSE is the most popular elective at HBS and surveys have shown it remains so long after HBS MBAs go out into “the real world.”

We witnessed Clay’s magic first-hand as we learned these same innovation fundamentals from him. Later, at the Christensen Institute, we helped Clay teach and evangelize them: David helped Clay condense a 6-week bootcamp to research fellows. and Farshad helped Clay and Dave architect DisruptiveInnovation.org, a research community for disruptive innovation.

Clay’s course had its limits. You either had to be a full-time student at Harvard or MIT, or have your company shell out a lot of money for an executive education program.

The rest of us had to wait.

With dx.mba, we set out to implmenent a 3rd iteration of this idea, this time guided toward practitioners. Of course, it came as no surprise to us that freeing this knoweldge out of its traditional ivory tower context would be be a formidable challenge. Indeed we were stuck in the thick of it for quite a long time. What to do when you don’t know what to do? Apply our methods reflectively!

It quickly emerged from our testing of the ideas in early adopter workshops that we needed to reconstruct the entire thing from ground up. As with any good rewrite, at the end we ended up refactoring most of the program, yet the core concepts in Clay’s course are still the beating heart of our project. We also refortified fundamental innovation concepts from theories of Learning, knowledge, causality, and science.

What you see here is the result of this multi-year tranformation, and only the beginning of what we hope will be a collaborative activity by the broader innovation community.

We don’t claim originality. We stand on the shoulders of giants who themselves stood on shoulders of prior giants. We are indebted to them transitively and eternally. When possible, we have given credit where credit is due.

Our very low-end aspirations for applicability of this treatment on innovation has forced us to reinterpret, refactor, and repurpose original concepts and theories. At times, this puts us in direct opposition to the originator’s intent. As such we may have lost some goodies in translation—for this we are sorry. We take full responsiblity for any errors, omissions, misunderstandings, or bad explanations. Thoughts, comments, critcisms, or other forms of feedback are welcome: [email protected].

Think Visually! says Farshad.
Act Causally! retorts Dave.

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