To Pivot or Not to Pivot…
“Pivoting” is a familiar word in the startup world and it seems that pivoting can be defined in many different ways. The Lean Startup book defines pivoting as “structural course corrections,” which is designed to test a new fundamental assumptions about a product or business model.
Pivoting to us, Officiser, was a radical change of design in attempt to find the product-market fit. Didn’t we already find the market fit of the initial prototype? Well, we thought we did. We developed the initial prototype, after a number of iterations, based on our primary research and assumptions about the customers’ needs. It turned out, however, after testing our prototypes with customers, we discovered that customers raised many problems with our latest prototype . In other words, we produced an effective product that our customer (i.e. market) doesn’t want. We found that several key assumptions we made, such as having multiple exercise functions, high tension, attaching the device to the chair, were not quite correct. We discovered the customers prefer simple, small and design-product rather than an exercise machine.
We heard the voice of customers and decided to pivot. We started from scratch, even ignoring our registered patent, and developed a product that had completely different look and feel. This pivoting was painful because we had already incurred large amount of sunk cost such as patents and prototype manufacturing costs, and due to years of efforts and time put into, we were emotionally attached to the previous model. However the result was rewarding. We engaged an award-winning industry designer to develop the current version of Officiser. Our testing result showed that customer satisfaction improved significantly in particular the design and convenience, and thanks to this pivot, now we have applied for a new patent that could embrace many future sedentary solutions to come. We are also excited to share that we will be launching in couple of days on Kickstarter with many supporters waiting to back the campaign.