Innovation at Times of Crisis
The Power of the Pivot in solving problems and positioning for the future.
At times in business or in life you need to pivot while still maintaining true to your vision. When we think of the term pivot we might think of a basketball pivot or that episode of Friends where Ross is moving a couch upstairs…PIVOT. Google it, it’s funny!
In the startup world to pivot means a shift to a new strategy.
The pivot is not just for startups. These days we are all startups, or we need to think of ourselves that way. For example: Is there friction in how you work with customers? Would creating a digital connection reduce that friction? Are you willing and open to collaboration and resource sharing not just within your company but with other organizations?
Hints that you should consider the pivot:
- You’re always playing catchup no matter how hard you work. Should you pivot your revenue model, product or market?
- Your company has hit a plateau. Just like with a diet or workout strategy the plateau can mean that you need to change things up and consider a revamp.
- One thing gets the most traction or shows the most success while the rest is failing. Should you focus on what is working best and capitalize on that product while reevaluating what is not working? Would this boost productivity and results?
- Market response is limited or lukewarm. Your market research says your product launch should be a success. What happened? Pivot?
- Your vision or perspective has changed. Are there more lucrative avenues to pursue?
Problem solving is at the heart
In response to the COVID crisis, beermakers, distilleries and cosmetic firms have shifted production to produce hand sanitizers. Startup engineering groups use 3D printers to create the valves used in ventilators. Other 3D printers make face shields. Designers are making masks, auto manufacturers are making ventilators.
What these innovations will have in common is that they will solve problems, which is always at the heart of innovation.
Crises present us with unique conditions that allow innovators to think more freely to create rapid, impactful change.
Crisis can inspire a fresh outlook to see systems differently. Crisis can put a spotlight on vulnerabilities, the weak points that we know are there but have been reluctant to address. What is working? What is not Working?
Crisis can cause us to be frozen. Not the movie or the contents of your freezer. We can become frozen holding on to how things have always been done. This crisis has changed almost everything about daily activities. This creates opportunity for innovation. The rules have changed.
Crisis requires action, movement and change. Lean in to Action. We have all seen companies hire consultants, do studies where we all know the answer even before the study is complete. That won’t work here. Instead of getting trapped with busywork experiments, test different thinking. In today’s verbiage; fail fast, move forward, innovate.
For learning leaders, these conditions provide the opportunity to do our best to help, and for our teams to do their most innovative work in the service of our organization.
It wasn’t that long ago when learning companies and organizations were resistant to virtual learning, digital learning, learning technologies. Crisis has made innovation plausible and a viable solution.
Plan for success but remember making decisions without thought and preparation is a recipe for disaster, so before you decide to take your life’s work or company in a new direction, take the time to prepare for the Innovation Opportunity. How can we help?