3 Simple Ways to Success — Innovate, Pivot, Adapt
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them — Albert Einstein
We all face problems every day. How we solve them makes all the difference. Simple solutions are all around us, and we need to grab them.
Let me tell you a story….
A wise businessman had 3 sons. On his deathbed, he wanted to make one of them responsible for his business. So he asked all of them to fill one of the three empty rooms in their house, with minimal cost, in as little time as possible. The eldest son went and brought home some cotton and filled the entire room with Cotton. The second son brought home straw and filled the second room with it. However, the youngest son went to the kitchen and borrowed a lamp, some oil, and a cotton swab from his mother. He then lit the lamp in a third empty room and filled it with light. The old businessman chose the youngest son.
When faced with a problem, we jump into Solution mode and don’t think the problem through. Instead of finding a simple, quick solution, we tend to get into tactical details that may complicate the end. Keep an eye on “What” and “How” you’re solving for. Thinking “Out of the Box” is imperative to make positive change and tackle complex problems.
Innovate, Pivot, Adapt
Kodak was the first company with innovative digital technology. However, instead of leveraging it to be the first to market, they decided to hold off. This cost them heavily.
Snapchat, on the other hand, using its filters (modern augmented reality applications), grabbed millions of young users.
A good example of pivoting at the right time is Corning. Corning is known for its innovative history. From making the glass for Edison’s bulb, glass tubes for early radio, TV Glass, to crockery. They quickly realized that the market for crockery was not growing. So instead of pushing more resources at it, the company decided to pivot onto low-loss fiber optic cables, now its greatest achievement.
Sometimes, the simplest solution is to pivot when your industry is in a downward spiral.
IBM flourished for a long time due to its highly reliable mainframes. They made money on support and high-priced consultants. However, they did not evolve with new business models to keep up with the competition. Instead of looking at Cloud offerings, they were complacent with their business model. As a result, they have been losing share to companies offering Cloud services. Now IBM is 1/10th the size of Apple, with 5-yr returns at -14% (compared to Apple’s 142%).
On the other hand, Shopify adapted quickly to the COVID situation. Despite tough competition from Amazon, it provided services to vendors who did not want to sell through Amazon. It adapted to small businesses during COVID and reported 110% (YoY) growth in Q1'21. Both their Merchant solutions and Subscription solutions saw remarkable growth in the last year.
Companies need to adapt, use innovative thinking, and pivot when needed to succeed in this age and time. This approach has helped me run my music school successfully for the last 19 years and start my podcast that encourages women to succeed in life and careers.