Pivot Thinking: How to Change Your Perspective to Transform Your Business

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Nanda Sibol
Nanda Sibol



pivot-thinkingUnlocking significant growth requires thinking about your product, brand, service or company in fresh, new ways. Renovations, line extensions, feature upgrades and benefit enhancements can drive top line and bottom line growth. However, to truly transform a business or industry necessitates a different mindset, a shift in perspective — a pivot.

Pivot to expand experience to new target customers.

Take, for example, Oculus VR’s Rift virtual reality goggles. This new technology was initially built and marketed for the consumer market, particularly the gaming industry. The Rift goggles allow players to have a richer experience by immersing them within the virtual reality of the game.

Then Oculus VR did an 180-degree switch. Moving outside their business-to-consumer strength, they considered the business-to-business marketplace, starting with the automotive sector. Oculus VR partnered with Ford and a motion-capture technology firm to develop a virtual reality automobile experience for Ford’s internal design team. While wearing the enhanced goggles, the system is designed to track a user’s position and orientation, providing Ford’s designers with a 3D representation of their creation and allowing them to “experience” the inside of a car before a single part is built.

This pivot of Rift’s target market from consumer applications to business applications has opened limitless possibilities, from design to architecture to medical to military sectors. With this approach, Oculus VR can continue to tap into new long-term revenue streams.

Pivot to breathe new life into old technologies.

Wildlife Materials, a small company in Illinois, has consistently modified their business by leveraging radio transmitter technology invented in the 1800s. When the company first started in 1970, it created telemetry materials to help researchers track animals in the wild. Then in the 1980s, it recognized a new need and shifted from tracking animals to tracking humans. The company adapted its products and developed tracking bracelets for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients so police could quickly locate them should they wander away from home. The tracking bracelets were so successful that they now have a division solely devoted to their production and development.

Encouraged by that result, Wildlife Materials once again pivoted and changed course to track goods. The company worked closely with police departments to rescale the transmitters to reduce theft of commonly stolen items, such as construction materials and bicycles. By shifting tracking usage from animals to humans to goods, the company has achieved considerable longevity and performance.

Pivot to change business practices.

A Singapore-based technology company, Haystakt, is using the power of crowds in a completely different manner. Unlike eBay and other online marketplaces that sell existing goods to drive prices up, they have developed a crowd-pricing platform, PROJECTS, that aims to sell products before they go into production to drive prices down. The project maker sets a pre-established price curve, and once a minimum order goal has been hit, every additional pledge drives the price of the project down. The final price paid is based on the total orders placed: The more orders, the less expensive it becomes for purchasers. This model creates a win-win scenario for both consumers and producers: Consumers can save money on popular items while producers can more easily determine price and quantity. By turning crowd technology on its head, Haystakt is potentially transforming the landscape of crowdfunding.

As these examples demonstrate, a shift, or pivot, in how you think about your business can drive significant growth. While it may seem simplistic, a few thought-provoking questions may uncover a world of opportunity.

Just ask: How might other consumers or industries benefit from what you offer? How might your products serve other uses and solve different problems? How might you reverse current business practices to outdo competitors?

Exploring this line of “pivot” thinking can lead to new possibilities and drive growth for your business.

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