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Reimagining Work by Peter Maglathlin, Pat Petitti, Rob Biederman

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CHAPTER 3The Gig Economy

In May of 2013—around the same time we were preparing for the IPO Day competition—Clayton M. Christensen held a roundtable discussion at HBS about the disruption of the professional services industry. Professor Christensen, who authored The Innovator's Dilemma, was probably the most renowned professor on the business school faculty. His theory of disruptive innovation has practically given rise to a cottage industry. By that point, he and two colleagues, Dina Wang and Derek van Bever, had interviewed more than 50 people on the topic, including those with established firms, upstarts, clients, and researchers. He narrowed his focus to two areas. One was legal services. The other was the world of consulting—the same realm we were bumping up against with HourlyNerd.

“We have come to the conclusion that the same forces that disrupted so many businesses, from steel to publishing, are starting to reshape the world of consulting,”1 Christensen, Wang, and van Bever would write in a paper published in the Harvard Business Review that fall. Professor Christensen himself had put in his time in big consulting when he worked earlier in his career for the Boston Consulting Group. (He had also worked in Washington for two years as a special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and in the 1980s cofounded a ceramics company called CPS Technologies.) He recognized in consulting an industry that hadn't changed its fundamental business model in more than 100 ...

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