Evolving from “Pivot”

Nora Guerrera
4 min readJan 30, 2024

The term “pivot” has lost its meaning

“Pivot” is overused and has become meaningless. We need a better term.

What is a pivot? In the most general sense, a pivot is a change. Whether it’s a change in approach, ex., ‘we were targeting women ages 35–50 but now we’re focusing on women and men ages 40–55,’ or whether it’s a bigger complete turn, ex., ‘we used to sell gears for machinery, and now we sell services for utilizing machinery’; it’s all a change, a shift in vision, direction, or approach.

In 2009, Eric Reis introduced the idea of a pivot in a blog post titled, “Pivot, don’t jump to a new vision.”

In this post, he states, “I want to introduce the concept of the pivot, the idea that successful startups change directions but stay grounded in what they’ve learned. They keep one foot in the past and place one foot in a new possible future.” (Eric is also the author of the startup bible, The Lean Start-up.)

I would argue the key component of Eric’s definition of a pivot, “stay grounded in what they’ve learned,” has gotten lost over the last 13 years. Instead, business has taken over the term, and whenever a project, team, or organization or team changes direction, focus, approach or vision- it’s called a pivot.

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Nora Guerrera

Strategist, Leader, Coach, Teacher. I help clients explore, create and use digital to bring game-changing experiences to their businesses and their customers.