Guy Kawasaki's 5 Innovation Tips

At the World Innovation Forum, Guy shares his insight on how you can be truly innovative in your business.
June 22, 2012

Alltop co-founder and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki kicked off WOBI’s World Innovation Forum on Wednesday, and had attendees’ rapt attention as he shared some of his strategies for out-creating competitors.

Kawasaki said that Apple is proof that innovators can succeed, and shared his tips on how leaders can pursue their company’s vision.

Here are the five you must know:

1. If you really want to innovate, give meaning to your product. Kawasaki encouraged attendees 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 some people 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.

What is your method of innovation?

Image via Guy Kawasaki