GUY KAWASAKI: The Real Rules On How To Innovate

From Business Insider:

Alltop co-founder and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently shared some of his strategies for outperforming competitors at WOBI’s World Innovation Forum.

Kawasaki knows firsthand that, like Apple, companies can succeed when they believe in their products. But how does a business gain that sort of confidence? According to Kawasaki, by building something that has meaning and is innovative.

Kawasaki’s “rules” have served as his own guidelines, and have helped propel him to success. Here are his must-know strategies that could change how your business operates:

1) If you really want to innovate, give meaning to your product
Kawasaki encouraged attendees at the World Innovation Forum to “want to change the world” with their products, noting that this ethos was at Apple’s core. He used Nike as an example, citing the company’s ability to infuse meaning into its sneakers. Kawasaki emphasized how “a little bit of cotton, leather and rubber” became symbolic with this 1990s Nike ad empowering women.

2) Have a mantra
If you really want to be innovative, said Kawasaki, create a mantra. Mission statements are lengthy and unmemorable, and people need to know why your organization exists. Kawasaki gave Wendy’s (“healthy, fast food”), FedEx’s (“peace of mind”), and eBay’s (“democratic commerce”) as examples.

3) Don’t worry, be crappy
Kawasaki stressed that there never will be an ideal time to innovate, and not to wait to perfect your product. The key is creating something that is a “revolutionary jump,” and doesn’t exist in the marketplace. He referred to the first laser printer as “a piece of crap, but a revolutionary piece of crap.”

4) Be willing to polarize people
All great products polarize a subset of the population, and Kawasaki urged leaders not to be afraid of this. He used TiVo as an example; Kawasaki loves recording his favorite shows on the device, but knows that advertisers loathe how viewers can skip through commercials. The most important thing, he said, is for a select few to really love your product.

5) Perfect your pitch
When presenting, Kawasaki thinks leaders should stand by the 10, 20, 30 rule: create 10 slides for a 20 minute presentation, and use 30 point font. He stressed the importance of providing both assistance and insight in the pitch, and including something unique for that specific audience.

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