Pivoting Your Business isn't Really Pioneering Innovation

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There’s a post going around various Facebook Groups that asks the words or phrases related to Covid-19 that you are most tired of hearing. The comments can be pretty funny. For me, it depends if you are referencing business or personal. Personally, I’m really tired of hearing “unprecedented times” and from a business perspective, it’s the word “pivot”.

According to Dictionary.com, PIVOT means a pin, point, or short shaft on the end of which something rests and turns, or upon and about which something rotates or oscillates. It’s described as keeping one foot in place while holding the ball and moving the other foot one step in any direction.

While it’s nice and digestible to believe that we are all simply “pivoting” to get through this, the reality is most businesses are actually launching.

According to Dictionary.com, LAUNCH means to burst out or plunge boldly or directly into action. It’s described as catapulting to another location.

Yes, the technology and tools already exist for us to continue to do business as normal (or as close to as possible), many chose not to adopt and implement them—for whatever reason: cost, time, fear of change, et al.

I was having a Zoom call with a previous client to get caught up. We were talking about how her market is dealing with COVID-19 and of course, the word pivot was being used. It really got me thinking that in her market, and in many others, there is no pivoting. In order to pivot, there has to be a base to shift. Some versions of virtual, team-based, or collaborative-based technology must already be used for something.

While these businesses have the knowledge that these tools (like Zoom) or virtual work exist, they haven’t implemented them and have told their teams that they are not as effective as traditional means of working. Now they are having to start from scratch to select the tools they will use and go back on their word to their employees and say that virtual work is just as effective. This requires they LAUNCH into new territory to survive and ultimately thrive in what will be the new business environment.

But still, this only covers the emergency response strategy. We are still just leveraging and implementing what already existed…we haven’t entered innovation, yet.

INNOVATION thrives when there is a lack of something or a struggle from constraints. Having a lack or not being able to do something is when we start to think in unconventional ways—we wonder how to solve problems that currently have no solution to. The longer that COVID-19 goes on, the more lack and the more constraints we will face and businesses and entrepreneurs will be forced to innovate. There will be new problems without solutions. There will be new constraints that prevent us from thinking and functioning as we did before. There will be new frustrations and stressors that need to be alleviated. This is when we will enter a period of great innovation—unprecedented times. This is when the business environment will change forever—expectations, deliverables, operations, and results. This is what scares some and invigorates others.

Like it not, innovation is on its way.