When Pivoting a Project, Focus on Current Needs

August 24, 2020

Covid-19 has turned the world upside down.

Projects you have been working on pre-Covid may have stopped entirely or may no longer feel relevant or needed.

Projects that required a lot of in-person interactions may be prohibited with varying levels of social distancing restrictions. You may realize its not worth risking the health of your clients.

"The needs of our community are absolutely changing and we want to make sure that we're helping people in a way that they actually need." Ariel Davis, VP of Talent, SUNY Fredonia

Pivoting an Existing Project

The first question you should be asking as a team is whether or not this project is still needed or even feasible.

The best way to determine needs is to re-engage with your stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries.

Do they still have the desire to focus their time in this way? What are the biggest problems they're facing now?

Do the partners or the beneficiaries have any ideas on how the project could pivot to fit their evolving needs?

It's important you really lean into your existing partners to help them set the direction moving forward.

Possible ways to pivot a project with existing partners:

  • change a production process to manufacture face masks (examples 1, 2)
  • help them adapt to video conferencing
  • help partner move their events online
  • accelerate their transition to e-commerce
  • help restaurant improve its online ordering and pickup operations
  • help launch or increase their social media outreach and digital strategy
  • deepen your research and development of new ideas around this subject
  • invest time to build relationships and develop a deep and supportive network
  • help your partner pivot their programs to meet more immediate needs (food drives, relief programs)

While these ideas might spark inspiration by helping point you in a direction, you will need a compass to guide you along the way.

Design thinking is that compass.

We have a course on the Training Center called Design for Delight that is based on Intuit's model of innovation.

Also, we recommend reading this article "Leverage Design Thinking to pivot an existing project, or start something new" to learn how to apply Design Thinking to your pivot.

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