You thought you understood disruption

Posted by Tom LarsenMay 28, 2020 Design, Making Choices, Marketing, Operations, Organization, Planning, Sales 2 Comments

In the past, disruption in business terms was when a new entrant to an existing market was doing some aspect radically different. Airbnb was a new kind of lodging (instead of hotels/motels). Uber was a new kind of transportation option (instead of taxis/busses). Blockbuster and Netflix in their own ways were new ways to get video (instead of broadcast TV). Railroads to horse travel and automobiles to railroads are further examples.

These efforts and many, many others were all based on a known marketplace and a new adaptation generally built on technology advancement.

The COVID-19 Pandemic is NOTHING like those. What do you need to address in your business or your life in order to flourish as the disruption settles out over time?

We are simultaneously seeing new ways goods and services are provided AND how the Customer (business or consumer) is creating new ways to seek out goods and services while changing the criteria of what is or is not appealing from the provider.

We can argue at length about whether the Pandemic will be a flash in the pan or not. It is however inarguable that the income spender is learning entirely new practices which will become habits. It only takes a few weeks for a daily habit to embed and a few experiences for a practice to continue indefinitely. There is currently a far lower threshold of resistance than we typically see in “converting” behavior.

In a grocery store last week I saw the advancement of a Personal Shopper service that has been offered for months. It used to be a person and a shopping cart. Since March the Store has elevated its capability with that service by adding special rolling racks with baskets, multiple orders per rack, a handheld device that organizes the products for a modified pick line approach to walking the store for the order filler person. The picker’s comment to me was that he is continually hearing from the customers that use this service that they intend to continue with it into the future because it is so convenient.

Hotels, restaurants, airlines, live entertainment, sports and many other types of businesses are going to develop an entirely new relationship with how they do business and what it takes for the customer to be attracted. All of that is still entirely to be determined.

In the furniture industry, there is thinking that a significant portion of discretionary spending on travel will now be invested in “home”. Why not? Many people have been home for quite a bit more time than in the past.

The point of all of this is to highly, highly encourage you as an individual to be aware that you are changing as well as the circumstances as well as the offers you see or provide. It’s ALL up in the air.

You simply MUST invest time now to both personally and professionally add new skills, new capabilities, new paradigm awareness so that you EXPAND your adaptability to whatever may be possible in the upcoming weeks, months, or years. You must fully appreciate there will be NO return to the Normal of January because we’ve all graduated into a new reality. In exactly the same way that you can’t unsee what you have already seen, that grocery store will see a long term consistency if not an expansion of personal shopping. It may see fewer shoppers in the store. It may see fewer checkers and more pickers. Brands may market differently. Amazon may want thousands of NEW employees. What service changes are in store for the fitness world with all their former members that now have home gym equipment.

When Nothing is Certain, Everything is Possible. Without a doubt, nothing is certain. Do all you can to be available and open for the “anything is possible” that comes behind it.

  • I love this positive spin on our situation now. I know there is a lot of good coming out of the pause in our lives. Thank you for your thoughts.

  • I agree, this was a thoughful and insightful approach to the disruption of Covid 19. Interesting reading this blog post of 2020 for the first time in 2022. Your post was telling: for the most part, we have created new habits and ways of being as a result of Covid such as eating outdoors, wearing masks (though many folks no longer do), using personal shopper, remote working, and expaning our adaptability. and your call to action has proven to be sound.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

The New Website

  • by Tom Larsen | 24 Feb, 2022 |
  • customer, engage, point of view, POV, the customer, website |

Now that I’ve talked to business owners, I realize just how important my perspectives on defining the other person’s point of view in advance actually is.


Change, Disruption and 2020 in Review

  • by Tom Larsen | 06 Jan, 2021 |
  • customer, engage, point of view, POV, the customer, website, change, choice, disruption, pandemic |

Over the the past year, I largely wrote about change and disruption. I even had a blog about change in March, Pre-Pandemic. Change and disruption are inextricably linked which generally creates resistance to change because it creates disruption. Most people do not seek disruption. It is less predictable than status quo.This past year has been … Continue reading Change, Disruption and 2020 in Review


Never Waste A Good Crisis: What if……

  • by Tom Larsen | 18 Nov, 2020 |
  • customer, engage, point of view, POV, the customer, website, change, choice, disruption, pandemic |

We talk so much about disruptive technologies and how positive they are. We rebuild after disaster disruptions, often for the better. What if we treated COVID-19 as a disruptive technology or disaster?