5 Famous Businesses – Pivoting or Innovating?

When the pandemic hit, many businesses had to pivot or innovate to continue trading. Here we look at what pivoting and innovating mean and look at 5 famous businesses and how they did this.

Pivoting a business means to make a shift in another direction or adding to any already existing product/service. A well thought out pivot can be inspiring and turn a failing business to a highly profitable one.

Innovating within a business means to take an existing or new product or service and adding that to a portfolio. It could be that that the thought was previously there but just needed some development and further research. Often those wishing to innovate struggle with the funding and would use this as an excuse.

Yes, they do both sound similar in approach don’t they, but who is to say that one is better than the other? Both involve a measure of risk, and both require boldness, planning and lateral thinking.

So, let’s take a look and let you make your mind up if they are pivoting or innovating.

Netflix originally were set up to deliver DVD’s to your house through the mail – now we associate them with binge watching our favourite programs. So how did they change?

More and more people started ditching players and at this point Netflix realised their market was changing and saw the need to adapt as well.

They introduced streaming and gradually moved away from physical DVD’s.

Pivot or innovation? I think this one could come under both.

Play-Doh – remember that as a child, the smell of it, the mess it made in your house.

Did you know that originally it was developed as a cleaner of soot from walls? With the introduction of gas heating, there wasn’t the need as much for it.

They came across a teacher who had been using it in his arts and crafts classes and re-invented it in colours to the product we know today.

This one I feel is most definitely innovation.

Honda – the makers of motorcycles originally – launched with the intention of rivalling Harley Davidson, but it failed as it wasn’t as big or comfortable and the American market didn’t warm to it.

However, they did find out that some Americans were using the smaller bikes to off road. They changed direction and created a previously non-existent market.
Innovation this one!

Android – a cloud-based platform that was available to store photos in it as well as working with digital cameras. Eventually, they were acquired by Google and a strategic pivot was made and launched into the mobile phone and device market. They became a major player in mobile rivalling Apple and some would say outperforming them.

This one is a pivot.

Instagram – yes that old photo sharing app that allowed you originally to check in to places and share photos of where you were. Perhaps this is where those photos of food you were eating came in to. It was also originally called Burbn – started by its founder in order to learn how to code.

Its potential was realised and it changed to what it is now – when of course Facebook or as they are now called, Meta, bought it for $1 billion.

Definitely innovation for this one. What started as a learning platform is now one of the most used social media platforms.

So, you see, acting out of necessity or just developing a product ie pivoting or innovation, are very similar. Out of necessity sometimes they come about. Other times they just develop and continue the growth of a business.

Never be happy with something – as is proved above – working on it will bring you the next big thing, and if you want to work with someone to get you there, visit our directory page.

pivoting or innovating