Disassemble and Re-Imagine

by Jorge Barba

Disassemble and Re-Imagine!“The 7-yr-old is bored. So I set fire to all her Xmas presents and said, Reassemble!” – Heather Armstrong

While the above quote is funny and makes sense for the average Joe, if you’re an innovator and are bored with the status-quo there’s only one solution: Disassemble and Re-imagine.

For example, last weekend I went to the movie theater to see Mission Impossible 4. It’s a good movie, but I’m not going to talk about that. What I want to tell you is what I noticed about this particular movie theater. First, the screen. It was sharp. No bubbles. Just sharp. Beyond that, apart from basic styling, nothing else is different about it. It looks like every other movie theater. Heck, it sounds the same way too. And it’s basic function remains the same: To go watch movies.

And this is where it gets interesting: Something that remains unchanged and boring for a long time is an opportunity for an innovator.

So what did I think about?

Well for one, movie theaters are like community centers. People from the same community run into each other and are likely to go watch a movie at least once a week. Nowadays, with location based networks like Foursquare and Facebook, it’s easy to see who else is at the same venue. Another thought is that movie theaters are entertainment venues. With that thought in mind, what if we turn movie theaters into edu-tainment venues?

If all they do is sell you more of the same popcorn, where’s the value? How about some educational value?

The vast majority of people like watching movies but don’t know anything about how these movies actually get made. Why not offer some classes? Wouldn’t it be cool if the employees, who get to see the movie before anyone else, knew everything there is to know about movie making and actually played a bigger part in the script than simply handing or breaking your tickets? What if the employees were actual actors?

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+ now let brands create their own page where they can host their own content and continue the relationship with the customer. Individual employees can then follow up with customers on these networks. It’s a community isn’t it? Why not expand it further?

This is all just a mental exercise and I don’t know if any of this is already being done and know that it sounds a little too obvious. But ,as you can see, we can go on and on what-ifing the whole movie theater experience and we’ll arrive at completely different scenarios that require completely different strategies and business models. Most industry categories are stale and boring and are in serious need of a transformation. This is one of them.

For me the whole movie theater experience has become quite predictable and boring because you already know what to expect (I used to go watch 3 movies in a single day and not much happened in between movies). Don’t you think?

Anyway, a systematic way to reimagine is by breaking down (disassemble) the whole movie viewing experience into parts so we can look at it each part individually and see how it all fits together. For practical purposes we can use the Business Model Canvas, The Innovation Radar or we can draw up a customer journey.

But if your head is running at a millions miles an hour like mine, you can do some mental training and ‘what if’ your way to new scenarios in your head. There are thousands of industries that are being re-imagined by playing a game of ‘what if’. These transformations have less to do with typical business analysis and more with complete dissatisfaction with the status-quo.

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Jorge BarbaJorge Barba is an Innovation Insurgent and is the Creative Strategist at Blu Maya, a San Diego based Digital Marketing Firm that helps organizations build their online business with strategy development for new products and services. He’s also the author of the innovation blog Game Changer. And lastly, you can follow him on Twitter @jorgebarba.

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