In a recent video interview with Mark Suster here, Clayton Christensen, the renowned HBS professor, presented some additional thinking on his theory of disruptive innovation. What was new for me was Christensen's position that disruptive innovation only applies in industries with a technology core. What Christensen means is that if an industry/product is using technology and that technology is critical to the customer experience and value creation (for the customer), then there is the possibility for disruption.
Certain industries lack such a technology core. Christensen sites the hotel industry as an example. The hotel industry cannot be disrupted. A hotel chain can only emulate a competitotr with a richer feature set for the customer. Disruption through technology is not possible. Other "old" industries such as restaurants and construction probably are in the same situation as hotels.
Another group of industries which lack a technology core are probably heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and education. Until very recently neither industry used technology for a better customer experience and only relied on technology for improved administration or staff productivity (doctors).
Of course, the absence of a technology core does not prevent outsiders from introducing customer facing technology to "disrupt" the industry. Coursera, the online university, would be an example.
Christensen has a very gloomy outlook for the future of HBS and universities in general. He asks us to pray for HBS. If we are praying for HBS then we need constant prayer vigils for some other universities.
Christensen also believes that university education must be more focused on teaching the practical skills required by employers. For business and engineering schools I would agree. However, some of the best disciplines to develop critical thinking are philosophy, economics and history. Not sure that any of these disciplines would meet Christensen's standards for practical training.
One of many other posts referencing Christensen's thinking is here. The post references his theory of how to size a market.