Renew or Die



By Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP

Mexico City, Mexico




Innovation is a common, frequent topic nowadays; however, it is not something new or exclusive to our time. Have you heard the phrase, “renew or die?” Well, this sentence was originated by the Spanish philosopher, essayer, novelist, and writer Miguel de Unamuno. Whose original expression was “progress consist in renewal,” at the debut of the XX century. People transformed the idea into common knowledge with the phrase “renew or die,” which is quite common to hear and understand at least in Spanish like “renovarse o morir.” Is that important the fact of not becoming obsolete? Is there a constant need for searching for new ways, new products, new services, new procedures, and so on? Well, it turns out that for many company’s innovations become everything.

Innovation implies the adoption of a new idea or behavior. Innovation can be put in place from different angles, such as technical innovations that include a new process and new products or services; or administrative changes, referring to new procedures, policies, and organizational forms. (Jiménez, 2011, p. 409). Innovation must become a consistent capability that is sustained over time (Phillips, 2012, p.xx).

The fact is that without innovation it is not possible to exist

Innovation brings many benefits to organizations such as

  1. becoming far more proactive rather than reactive;
  2. eliminate much firefighting;
  3. causing other firms to react to your new product, service, and business model;
  4. employees who are more engaged and who use a broader set of tools and techniques to accomplish strategic goals;
  5. deeper capabilities to define and achieve strategic objectives;
  6. increase revenues and profits while retaining efficient cost management;
  7. sustained market differentiation and favorable media and press coverage;
  8. increased ability to leverage internal knowledge and external partnerships. (Phillips, 2012, p.xxi).


  1. Enemies of Innovation

Innovation is not always welcome inside the organization; it can be seen as the enemy to beat. Innovation could be a threat to the business as usual, and it is understandable after all, it has taken time, effort, organization and process to keep business stable, why do we want to change status quo?

Bureaucracy, business as usual, and standard operating models will do what it takes to defend business as usual furiously. Who or what are the enemies of innovation?

Routine or Business as Usual

As it has been mentioned, Business as Usual and many implemented methodologies oriented to keep operations running in known standards of efficiency are quite hesitant to innovate and change the status quo. Six Sigma, Lean, and other methods are used to improve operations and refined existing process and products which goes against innovation. According to Phillips (2012), “ever-increasing focus on efficiency creates an innovation trap: the more efficient business, as usual, becomes, the more the firm seeks to protect and isolate business, as usual, leading to less and less innovation.” (p.20).

Innovation, to exist, needs to disrupt the current operational model, which does not like to take risk, change, or uncertainty, that is the reason why business, as usual, does not feel comfortable with innovation.


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How to cite this article: Larios, A. (2020).  Renew or Die, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/pmwj91-Mar2020-Larios-renew-or-die-advisory.pdf



About the Author


Angelica Larios

Mexico City, Mexico



Angelica Larios, MBA, PMP, is a project manager with more than 20 years of experience in implementing software projects related to business intelligence, planning and budgeting, and financial consolidation solutions based on software applications to support the business decision process. She is the owner of ALACONTEC, an I.T. consulting company founded in Latin America. She has held several professional positions in private and public organizations, such as the Health Ministry in Mexico as I.T. director, and as a business manager for several firms in Mexico.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Mexico (UNAM). In addition to her studies in project management and her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, which have helped her to consolidate her career and have a better understanding of what businesses and projects need nowadays. She is a doctoral student in strategic leadership at Regent University, VA. She is a volunteer since 2007, starting in the local Mexico chapter, being Past President and in several positions within PMI (CMAG, BVAC) and currently serves on the Ethics Member Advisory Group (EMAG) that supports the PMI Global Operations (2018–2020).

Angelica can be contacted at angelica.larios@gmail.com