Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Innovation Rules

By Shlomo Maital

Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the psychology grad, in the jewelry  business, who became the marketing guru for Apple’s Macintosh and led it to massive success.  He has since become a successful venture capitalist and author, (“Art of the Start”) and speaks effectively on startup entrepreneurship.

   Here are the 10 rules for successful innovation, given in an address to a conference of educators in Boston, Nov. 16-18:     Innovator – on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = out to lunch on this one,   5 =   implement it always and with perfection), score yourself on each of the 10. 35-40 points gets you a high success rating on the Kawasaki scale.

  1.  Make Meaning – Great innovation is motivated by the desire to make meaning and to change the world. Companies that are successful started because they want to make the world a better place. If you are just trying to make money, then you attract the wrong kind of people.
  2. Make Mantra – You should have a two or three word explanation of why your school or class should exist.  Mission statements are too long and not memorable
  3. Jump to the next curve – The problem with most businesses is that they define innovation as what they do in their business. Define yourself not as what you do, but as the benefit you provide. Great innovation begins in jumping or creating the next curve. Kawasaki cited Western Union as an example of a company that did not do this by refusing to see the benefit of telephones. There are certainly a large number of companies that became irrelevant due to their failure to see the next curve.
  4. Roll the dice – Don’t be afraid to take a chance and put out something unique to your market. Kawasaki cited Ford’s My Key that allows you to program the top speed into the key.
  5. Don’t Worry Be Crappy – Kawasaki who was a member of the development team for the first MacIntosh computer, admitted the first MacIntosh was a piece of crap, but he added that it was a revolutionary piece of crap due to some of the revolutionary aspects of the device. “Ship stuff that jumps to the next curve,” he encouraged. If you wait until it is perfect you may miss your opportunity.
  6. Let 100 Flowers Blossom – As an innovator you may think you have an exact customer and an exact use for what you do. You may encounter a situation where unintended people use your product in unintended ways. If this happens we need to embrace it and let this unintended use blossom.
  7. Polarize People – Great innovation polarizes people , it is one of the consequences. Anyone who has asked teachers to make the switch to Google docs can identify with this one. (If you have people who truly HATE your product, but also those who truly LOVE your product – your polarized, and you’re on the right track).
  8. Churn, Baby, Churn – This is the hardest thing about innovation, you need to be in denial and refuse to listen to naysayers.
  9. Niche Thyself – If you are designing a new product then you need to make sure that what you are doing is both unique and valuable. Find your niche. Be the best in it.
  10. Perfect your pitch – Customize your introduction to show that you know where you are and who you are talking to. Find out information about who you are talking to.
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