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HBX Business Blog

Pinterest Buyable Pins: Deliberate vs. Emergent Strategy

Posted by Bryan Guerra on November 18, 2015 at 2:55 PM

Strategy is not a static thing; what works in one context may fail in another. Likewise, the strategy that senior management intends to employ may diverge from the one that actually emerges.


Take Pinterest as an example. This company started as a place for discovery; an environment for users to gain inspiration and create wish lists – essentially, this was Pinterest’s “deliberate strategy.”

Over time, as users desired to make purchases on the site, an “emergent strategy” surfaced, and buyable pins became an attractive new opportunity.

By staying open to this new opportunity, Pinterest was able to shift resources accordingly and capture this rapidly evolving new opportunity.

Now, as they’ve expanded farther into the buyable pins strategy, the company has positioned itself as both an e-commerce platform and a major player in the world of customer acquisition for big brands.

What was the key to this successful transition?

Effective management of the strategy development process, a necessary characteristic of any organization that seeks to foster potentially disruptive opportunities, as well as a critical lesson from HBX Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen.

To learn more, read Pinterest Expands Buyable PinsTo More E-Commerce Platforms, Reaching Thousands of Merchants (via TechCrunch).

Topics: Disruptive Strategy