Disruption: Beyond Innovation

Disruption: Beyond Innovation

By on Mar 8, 2017 in Blog, Disruption | 0 comments


The key is to embrace disruption and change early. Don’t react to it decades later. You can’t fight innovation.

Ryan Kavanaugh

To start here with disruption, we must first look at what disruption is not. While Kavanaugh has an excellent point, he falls trap to a very easy rabbit hole associated with disruption.

Innovation and disruption are not the same thing.

To better visualize this concept, let’s consider a graphic from Leyla Acaroglu’s “Disruptive Design” e-book:


Essentially this graphic explains innovation as slight improvements to systems already existent, on a linear scale. Disruption, on the other hand, is three-dimensional and looks at new ways of doing something that forces old models out-of-commission.

In today’s array of business buzzwords, there are countless times where disruption is misappropriated and it’s important to look at those examples through a closer lens. For example, Uber is often considered an example of disruption but, in a Harvard Business Review article, we can see this is innovation in disguise.

As Acaroglu further explains in her e-book, “All too often, we try to solve a problem with the same thinking that led to the problem to begin with.”

Innovation can be useful and necessary, but also doesn’t factor in that all this does is create better versions of something that we’ve already established there’s a market for.

So what does it mean to ‘disrupt’?




Now that we have a better of idea what disruption isn’t, let’s look at the makeup of what is disruption.

Disruption has one core component: intent.

We here at PureReinvention believe this is key to positive change. In fact, purposefully disrupting the status quo creates an opportunity for growth beyond what is already existent.

Real disruption goes beyond the “why” and intentionally shifts systems rather than creating noise to simply be heard. It’s working backwards from what you want, identifying what’s missing and then creating something there that wasn’t before.

To do this, and to be true disruptors, we must be better active listeners and observers of the environments and ecosystems surrounding us, identifying needs and gaps not being met. In other words, what’s causing discomfort? Instead of shying away from that discomfort, we must dive into it and find how to create new pathways to accomplishing your goal(s).

A final note: disruption does not need to be monumental. Sometimes the smallest changes can have the largest impact.



What does this mean for you? Here’s a checklist of things you can do today, and soon, to encourage a habit of disruption:

  1. The next time you have the nagging feeling that something needs to change, try finding a way to disrupt the circumstances at hand while at the same time keeping intent of why things should change.
  2. Push boundaries by demonstrating a willingness to reimagine some of your organization’s most fundamental assumptions about products, membership and business models.
  3. “Use what we have done as the spring board of where we’re going” – Podcast Ep. 114
  4. Surround yourself with tools that constantly challenge you to think differently. Here are a couple of resources to start with:
    • Stay in touch with PureReinvention, and subscribe to our podcast.
    • Attend one of our STARTERS retreats, our next being May 4-5 and 24-25. Check out more info here.


Greg Rokisky

Greg Rokisky works remotely as a social media and community manager for Streamline Publishing and as a freelance creative services consultant. Greg's specialty lies in digital media, public relations and social media marketing. He most identifies with disruption and his superpower is connecting!

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