Pivoting to Meet Market Demands

by novel_admin on September 27, 2013

Sometimes in the land of innovation, things don’t always go as planned. Often this means the innovator needs to rethink their plan and change things to make their product better and more marketable. In business terms this is called Pivoting. Pivoting can mean the difference between succeeding and throwing in the towel.

Knowing when to pivot can be crucial to success. Things to consider when determining the optimal time to pivot include:
• Is the product prototype performing at the expected and desired level? If there is underperformance this is a red flag towards pivoting.
• Company sales traction is low or non-existent.
• Funding is difficult to come by and raising money for your company has stalled.
• Market forces have changed.

If you are experiencing any or all of these it may be time to consider pivoting your project or business to something more marketable. Part of being a start-up or having a new product is the willingness to be flexible during development.

One you find the best time for your pivot, the next step to meet market demands is to use the right type of pivot. The best place to start is to find the strengths and weaknesses of your product or business.

If you find that a certain aspect of your business works, focus on that by using the zoom in/zoom out pivot method. This may mean narrowing your reach to customers who need your best product so you may need to zoom in. Should you need to change from offering only a small part of what is needed to the entire range of services you may need to zoom out and try to be a one stop shopping center.

It may be time to use the Business Model Pivot and reassess your business model and adjust it accordingly. It is not unusual for the business model to need changes as time goes on.

Not understanding the needs of your customers? A Customer Needs Pivot may be in order. It is crucial that companies understand customer needs so they can market their product the best way possible.

The Technology Pivot is a crucial pivot for any product that involves technology. We know that technology is changing at a rapid rate with new apps and services being offered daily. A smart company keeps up on the latest technology and seeks to update their product to compete.

This pivoting, or changing the aspects of a business or product to better meet market needs has proven successful for several well- known companies and products. One such product is the Blackberry.

Once a must have electronic device, the Blackberry sales have slipped as new technology such as IPhones and Androids, have offered competition. Sadly Blackberry has failed to stay competitive with their software.

In order to try to get back in the game, increase sales and stay competitive Blackberry is working on new software called “Secure Work Spaces.” The main function of Secure Work Spaces will be to allow for peaceful and secure co-existence of personal and corporate data on smartphones, including iOS and Android devices.

Blackberry has also announced plans to transition smartphone portfolios from six to four. Thus allowing them to focus on the best part of their product and using a zoom in to produce only what is most marketable. While this was an important pivot to try to help Blackberry stay afloat, sales were low.

Blackberry is perhaps taking a drastic step and ultimate pivot by deciding to go private. The company agreed to be acquired for $4.7 billion dollars. The private equity consortium Fairfax Financial has agreed to the acquisition.

By taking these measures, Blackberry is pivoting to accomplish restructuring, increase sales and product products that are in greatest demand. It is true Blackberry is not a start-up, but perhaps important lessons can be learned by their willingness to use pivots to save their business.

These are lessons all innovators can benefit from. When it seems nothing is working in your business plan or your product is unsellable, taking the time to use some pivots and regroup can make the difference between success and bankruptcy.

Many of the greatest innovators had to fail, regroup and pivot several times before they found the product or business model that worked best.


3-D Printers: Innovation at its Best

by novel_admin on August 13, 2013

Have you seen the new 3-D printers on the market? These things can actually print a three dimensional solid object! How cool is that?

While it may seem that these little beauties have suddenly sprung up out of nowhere, the technology has actually been coming since the 1980’s. We all need to give big congratulations to a man named Charles W. Hull. He is the innovator who first invented the language of the 3-D Printer and first patented the term ‘stereolithography’ which is a fancy word that means there is a now a system for generating 3-D objects.

Even after all these years of development, three dimensional printing is still considered to be in the infancy stage. For all you innovators out there, that means it is pretty much an open market with plenty of room for improvement, new technology and a possible global impact on manufacturing coming down the pike.

Three dimensional printing has the potential to greatly impact society for the better. Princeton just announced that their researchers have been working on building a bionic ear with three dimensional printing. This bionic ear will have the capability to detect frequencies a million time higher than the average person can. Move over Jamie Somers the Bionic Woman, your bionic ear is about to become obsolete. This three dimensional ear could have a profound impact on allowing hearing impaired people to hear.

Ears could be just the start. With the thousands and thousands of people on the list for life saving organ transplants, think of the amazing potential three dimensional printing could have if researchers can use innovation to figure out a way to print organs for transplant. How amazing would it be to give transplant patients a longer, better quality life without having to use organs from a cadaver?

Of course, no good deed goes unpunished. With all of the wonderful possibilities that three dimensional printing has to offer, in 2012 a group got a lot of attention when it distributed instructions on how to make a working gun with this technology. This means anyone with a 3-D printer could make a gun. The United States State Department and Homeland Security got involved and the instructions on that particular site were taken down.

Instead of focusing on the bad things that could come from this technology like guns, let’s focus on the good. Research on possible new applications of three dimensional printing include making space travel safer and less expensive, reconstructing fossils for the study of paleontology, helping the study of archeology but replicating ancient artifacts and building construction. For all the CSI fans out there, three dimensional printing has to potential to help with forensic pathology by recreating bones, body parts and other evidence from crime scenes.

The possibilities of three dimensional printing are fascinating and endless. Perhaps it is the holy grail of innovation as it has the potential to do so much good in the world. It will be exciting to see what they print next!


Something New

July 13, 2013

ShareIf you are like many people, the constant introduction of new products on the market can make you feel like you can’t keep up. Technology is a prime example of this. From 8 track tapes to mini IPods, from Beta to DVD technology is constantly changing and improving over time. What seems like the cutting […]

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When Your Brand Is Your Culture

June 20, 2013

ShareWhat makes for a success story in online business that other companies can learn from? In the case of Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh might argue that his brand’s identity is intrinsically linked to exemplary customer service fostered by the company’s culture. No surprise perhaps that Zappos makes the short-list of company’s voted “Best Place to […]

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Innovative Approaches in Game Design

June 11, 2013

ShareWhen we talk about innovation in game design, what qualifies as something new can be tricky. While gaming technology may have improved, the core ideas often have not — something game company executives who have been around a while will readily admit. It’s more of a balance between novelty and the theft of 30-year-old concepts. […]

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Next Steps in Video Innovation: Microcasting 2.0

June 4, 2013

ShareA key to how Twitter maintains our interest is that we can follow people as well as set up real-time exchanges between discoverable points. Not simply a way of monitoring brief posts, Twitter’s ability to spark and facilitate conversation has redefined the online experience for millions. Seven years since its introduction, it has also become […]

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May 21, 2013

Sharehttp://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html Recognize the line above? It’s the first website address, created by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland and launched online in August of 1991. A decade earlier, he had worked at the facility famous for particle physics research and considered hypertext as an effective means of sharing data between researchers. (The innovator behind hypertext […]

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Framing “Innovation”

May 15, 2013

ShareI began this piece by working on a list of popular approaches that spur innovation. Researching online brought a dizzying array of flowcharts, graphs, and nuanced language, but nothing that would reflect the essence of innovation. Why? To get at the answer, let’s start with the word “innovate”. First introduced in the 1540s, “introduce as […]

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Catching Up With One Laptop Per Child

May 5, 2013

ShareIn 2005, MIT Professor Nicholas Negroponte unveiled a project to supply inexpensive laptops to children in the developing world. One Laptop per Child (OLPC) gained a lot of initial support, with backers that included Google, eBay, Red Hat, Quanta, as well as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The concept was straightforward: Children in developing […]

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When Your Brand Is Your Culture

April 27, 2013

ShareWhat makes for a success story in online business that other companies can learn from? In the case of Zappos, CEO Tony Hsieh might argue that his brand’s identity is intrinsically linked to exemplary customer service fostered by the company’s culture. No surprise perhaps that Zappos makes the short-list of company’s voted “Best Place to […]

Read the full article →