Businesses pivoting in unexpected times

As Australian businesses look ahead at 2020, they’re discovering more ways to do business by pivoting and coming up with inventive ideas.

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7 min read
Businesses around the world are adjusting to meet the new needs of their customers and the economy. We’ve seen some extraordinary inventions start to surface from businesses pivoting and re-inventing the way they work.

Australians have a long history of getting things done when the going gets tough. We’re a country that has prevailed through natural disasters and environmental challenges like drought; a country who has excelled on the world sporting stage; and we’re a country of brilliant people with brilliant ideas. We’ve invented technology like Wi-Fi, power boards, and the cochlear implant among other incredible world-firsts.

So, what new inventions and ideas will 2020 deliver?

From beer to hand-sanitiser

Little over a month ago, Young Henrys were making kegs of beer. Beer to be shared with friends during the days of summer, attending live-music gigs, or watching the sunset over a river while fishing. All of the things the world is waiting to be able to experience again, together, when social distancing is able to be relaxed.

For now, though Young Henrys has heeded the call, this is not the time for social outings or get-togethers at home to enjoy their local brew. Instead, they’re using their ingredients to make hand sanitiser.

Hand sanitisers require high-quality ethanol, something which distilleries have available for their main product. Young Henrys aren’t the only distillery to have pivoted to hand sanitisers, Bundaberg Rum will donate 100,000L of ethanol to the Queensland Government and Beenleigh Rum Distillery is producing hand sanitisers for front line workers.

Oscar McMahan, co-founder of Young Henrys brewery

Keeping it local

Most communities are trying their best to support local shop owners and stores. One of these business owners receiving support from their community is Ken Little, who for 40 years has been running his own fruit and vegetable shop in Port Macquarie.

With the onset of the coronavirus, he’s introduced a ‘Knock and Drop’ home delivery service. With more deliveries than ever before, he’s doing his best to keep his staff employed and understands that “sometimes you have to evolve your business, and this is our chance to evolve our business temporarily”.

Packaging re-invented

For those at the front line, access to surgical masks has proven challenging, but companies like Adelaide business Demtold have stepped up. Demtold traditionally makes packaging for fast food companies like KFC and McDonalds, but the team has pivoted and turned their efforts towards making surgical masks.

Soon they will have made about 145 million masks. This quick pivot ensures a third of the masks made will go directly to frontline workers in South Australia. Demtold hopes to employ an additional 160 people during this time.

From market displays to the home office

Melbourne based Market Stall Co is a business that traditionally makes displays for markets and bespoke retail solutions. The team knew they had to move quickly with the recent changes in restrictions, forcing them to close their doors.

So, they redirected their efforts to make desks and units for those working from home. As a small business, they wanted to keep people employed and found a solution to meet the needs of their customers.

Transitioning online

In the education sector, Mappen is working hard to provide free online learning support to schools during this time. Melbourne Museum is also giving people behind the scenes access by creating never seen content, including tours and fun activities from the children’s gallery.

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