ORA: The Power of the Pivot
(7 pages of text)
In September 2019, the founder of a personal emergency response systems (PERS) company reached a pivotal point with her business. She had created the ORA device, a customized hardware and software product, intending to disrupt the growing PERS industry while helping to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. But while the product and the company received considerable positive feedback and publicity, sales had not met the founder's expectations. The founder brought plenty of experience, skills, and innovation to her business, and also identified an important new market segment for her product. Still, she was aware that technology start-ups were notoriously challenging to start, grow, and maintain.
The founder felt that she had reached the end of the line for her business and had to make a decision about its future. She had to identify opportunities and threats in the market and determine if the company had a sustainable competitive advantage. She also had to decide whether to focus entirely on the new segment she identified or make a new strategic move and raise another round of funding for growth. Alternatively, she wondered if she should instead sell the technology, or the entire company, and resume her executive position in the financial industry.
This case study is best suited for undergraduate- or graduate-level courses in entrepreneurship, business strategy, and technology product development or for certificate programs or core curriculum courses that integrate multiple topic areas. Instructors are able to apply different methods of teaching the case by exploring internal resources and using external environmental analysis, or by integrating both perspectives in strategic decision-making. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- identify and analyze business risk and opportunities in the medical alert device industry;
- identify and describe a company’s resources and capabilities;
- understand a company’s product–market fit and strategic positioning;
- understand the concept of a strategic pivot; and
- understand how to integrate both environmental and enterprise analyses when making strategic decisions.
Health Care Services
Canada, Small, 2019
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