Reinvention is like a major renovation – Disruption is a total knockdown
Lets consider an analogy to explain the difference between innovation, reinvention and disruption.
Imagine if you will that you have purchased a new house.
You are faced with a number of choices.
1. Do nothing
This might be an option but if you are a brand or business owner the option of standing still in a fast-moving world will soon have you going backwards.
2. Renovate say the bathroom
This is the same as incremental innovation.
It’s fast, relatively cheap and small changes can make a big difference.
And once you start in one room you often want to keep renovating.
3. Undertake a major renovation.
Sometimes you buy a house because of the location or property size but the house needs a major renovation.
This scenario in my analogy is the same at reinvention.
You take an existing product, brand or business or career for that matter and you try and reinvent some aspect.
Barbie for example has just introduced for the first time, bigger dolls with curves to better reflect the actual size of females rather than the unobtainable blonde hair, slim waist variety.
The important point is this.
You take what exists and rearrange the pieces to create something new.
This can save you money, time and reduce the risk.
It may not be perfect but like a major renovation you can design an amazing house which is a combination of the old and the new.
But it also means that there are some restrictions on what you can do in terms of council approval, size, height etc.
So reinventing is creative within limits.
4. Knock the house down and start from scratch
The last option is to completely demolish the house and build another one.
This is disruption.
In this scenario you are not bound by what exists.
You can create whatever you want depending on your budget and imagination.
It’s the preferred option for startups for example because they have no existing rules or legacy mindsets or assets to use.
But can also be the most risky.
The key point:
Leaders of existing brands or businesses can continue to grow their organisation and prevent being disrupted only by continuously reinventing what exists.
This is where my analogy breaks down because you tend to think of a major renovation as a once off rather than a continual process.
But this is what is required if brands are to prosper in the age of disruptive and accelerating change.