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Pivoting Is A Process

Posted By Julie Rothhouse, Founder SynaVoice SOL; WIPP Board of Directors , Monday, June 8, 2020

When the character Ross from the TV show "Friends," screams to “Pivot, Pivot, Pivot," it is funny because the visual makes it clear that no amount of pivoting is going to get the couch up the stairs. When businesses pivot, they are hoping for a different outcome. For SynaVoice, the catalyst for our business pivot was the crisis caused by COVID-19. With a desire to help in some way, business as usual was not an option for us.

 

SynaVoice SOL

Although it happened at warp speed, there was a process we followed to launch SynaVoice SOL. SynaVoice SOL (Summer OnLine) is a pop-up camp developed to provide high school students with a stimulating summer experience they can enjoy from their own homes, because quarantine. Each one-week session focuses on a specific area of interest or topic that will engage high school students and expand their horizons. The daily sessions end at noon each day, because summer!


Step 1: Narrow the Funnel


In order to add the most value, we first had to identify an industry and audience to target. We identified three broad areas where we thought we could make a difference: housing, healthcare, and education. We held a series of networking conversations with business owners and subject matter experts to brainstorm ideas where we could leverage our expertise in communications and training to provide solutions. After the conversations we used a process of elimination to narrow our focus to education and specifically, creating imaginative online educational content.


In the broad category of education, we focused on 8th-11th graders. Teenagers in these grades are tech savvy, spend a lot of time online, need engaging activities, and were not getting the attention that the graduating seniors understandably received. Importantly, we felt we understood this cohort as several team members have teenage children.


Step 2: Fill the Gap


Once we had the industry and target defined, we again held brainstorming sessions with a broad group of business leaders and experts in online content, remote teaching, and high school curriculum development. Through our discussions we identified an emerging gap. Traditionally, kids in this age group went to camp, got a job, traveled with family, or hung out at home during the summer. In an attempt to control the rapidly spreading virus many programs and plans were cancelled - with the exception of hanging out at home. SynaVoice SOL, a virtual summer camp, was created to fill the gap caused by the COVID-related cancellations. 


Each one-week camp session features a unique topic presented by a nationally-known expert. Our goal is to provide exposure to new ideas, concepts, and skills for high school students to inform their eventual college, career, and life choices. Without time to do formal research, we informally tested the idea with parents, educators, and students and honed the concept based on their feedback. 

 

Watch a preview of SynaVoice SOL Graphic Narratives Camp

 

After the initial cancellations of the summer programs, many camps and programs retooled and provided online options. We were keen to differentiate ourselves from the rapidly expanding online offerings which, for the most part, were translating in-person content to online delivery. We knew we needed to provide topics and presenters that would engage the campers and capture their imagination, staying true to our mission to create innovative, educational content. All of our sessions provide a unique take on a fun and interesting topic, like our True Crime session which keys off the passion that some kids have for true crime stories and tv shows. We engaged Dr. James Diamond, a professor and criminal lawyer, to provide a taste of criminal law and highlight some of the cases he worked on. 


Step 3: Launch the Program


In rapid succession we developed a logo, began recruiting counselors, finalized the session offerings, built a commercial website, announced the launch, and purchased social media advertising. SynaVoice SOL was lucky in that many friends and partners embraced the vision and supported us by bartering in-kind services for sponsorships and the opportunity to participate. This was extremely helpful in keeping start-up costs down.


Step 4: Continue the Pivot


We are passionate about our mission to provide innovative content for 8th-11th graders. Our journey is not complete as we still need to sign up campers and provide flawless execution of the camp sessions on the Zoom platform. I am confident that with the help of our partners and presenters we will deliver an extraordinary experience to the campers who enroll in SynaVoice SOL this summer. But, the pivot is not complete, because we will need to shift again for the school year in September.

 

Learn more about Julie's pivot during our

Monday, June 29

Position, Pivot, Profit webinar.

Register online today

 


Julie RothhouseJulie Rothhouse is CEO of SynaVoice LLC and Founder of SynaVoice SOL. She has been a WIPP member since 2015 and sits on the WIPP Board of Directors. Read more about Julie’s business at www.synavoicesol.com.

 

Each Monday, WIPP aims to feature a guest blog post from a member on tips and tools for business success. To submit a blog post, please email membership@wipp.org.

Tags:  guest post  membership 

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