The Power Of The Pivot

“In pivoting, you change one dimension of your idea.  The idea is to discover new insights that you would not have seen if you had changed multiple dimensions at once.”  -Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer ‘The Innovator’s Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organization’

While learning basketball growing up, there were certain fundamental skills that were drilled into us through practice on an ongoing basis…how to shoot, how to dribble and how to pass.  Skills that were vital to our proficiency and overall ability to play the game successfully.  How effective and efficient we became with those skills often determined not only how well we played, but also the creative and inventive manner in which we approached the game.

Another one of those fundamental skills that we learned was how to pivot.  How to keep one foot planted firmly, while moving the other foot in a variety of positions to provide a better perspective, a better position, and a better vantage point to pass, shoot or score.  A pivot allowed you to change and broaden your options when pulling up your dribble had left you with a narrowed set of options.

A pivot was your ability to adjust in order to open yourself to other options and vantage points.

In ‘The Innovator’s Method’ by Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyar, they underscore the importance of being able to pivot.  “You pivot when you still haven’t nailed the problem, solution, or business model so that you can try a new, more promising approach.” 

Instead of narrowing, the willingness to pivot allows us to broaden our perspectives, our opportunities, our insights, our ideas, and eventually the solutions to the problems that plague and hinder progress.  It is this ability to pivot that not only engages and raises the creative and innovative capacity of our people, but allows for a more responsive and agile organization.

Too often, when organizations are struggling for new and better solutions, they find themselves narrowing down options and incorporating convergent thinking, before opening up their options and perspectives by engaging more divergent thinking into the process.

They tend to narrow down their responses before opening themselves up to a broader spectrum of thinking and ideas.

The pivot is neither science nor art, but a mixture of both.  Especially, when determining when to pivot or when to persist, whether the pivot should be massive or incremental, or whether you are on the right path or if new perspectives and necessary and needed.

In the end, organizational agility is not only in being able to pivot, but knowing when and even how…

Or as Furr and Dyar share in ‘The Innovator’s Method’”The word helps you remember that you should accept change as a reality of dealing with uncertainty, but when you do change, keep one foot planted by using what you’ve learned rather than throwing it away.”

References and quotes from…

Furr, Nathan and Dyar, Jeff.  The Innovator’s Method: Bringing The Lean Startup Into Your Organization.  2014.  Boston.  Harvard Business Review Press

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