Guy Kawasakis Top 10 Tips For Innovation

February 18, 2015

Contributor: Tom McCall

Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva and formerly of Apple, shares his top 10 tips on the art of innovation.

In an entertaining Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo™ talk in which he both poked fun at high tech and held the industry to high standards, Mr. Kawasaki shared personal stories and industry examples with the audience of CIOs and IT leaders.

In his first three tips, Mr. Kawasaki encouraged companies to make meaning versus money, create a three word mantra instead of a mission statement, and jump to the next curve when innovating beyond their current set of products and services.

No. 1: Make meaning

No. 2: Make a mantra

No. 3: Jump to the next curve

“ I believe companies should step back and not describe themselves based on what they do but the benefit they provide,” he said. “The real action occurs on the next curve.”

No. 4: Roll the DICE

No. 5: Don’t worry, be crappy

No. 6: Let 100 flowers blossom

Next, he discussed the need to create products that are deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant (DICE); not to worry if products aren’t perfect before shipping them, and take into account how users actually use them versus your original intention for the product. “Let 100 flowers blossom,” he told the audience, citing Chairman Mao Zedong. “You may be surprised how people use your product.”

No. 7: Polarize people

No. 8: Churn, baby churn

Mr. Kawasaki said that it’s okay to create polarizing products. “These kinds of products create emotions. Some people will love it, some will hate it and that’s okay.”  He added that the hardest thing to learn as an innovator is that you will encounter resistance that you must first ignore to move forward, and then take into consideration to improve your product. “Take innovation and churn it,” he said.

No. 9: Niche thyself

No. 10:  Perfect your pitch

Finally, he commented on the need for products and services to be unique and have value, summarizing his point #9 as “niche thyself.” Then he told the audience, “You must perfect your pitch for both internal and external audiences.” His advice included keeping presentations to 10 slides, in 20 minutes, with 30 point type size.

For a bonus point, Mr. Kawasaki told the audience to ignore the “bozos” noting both misguided statements by industry gurus and his own misstep many years ago when he couldn’t see beyond the PC era to the Internet curve. If listening to these statements keep you from trying he said, “you’ll never know if you will succeed.”

Experience Information Technology conferences

Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.

Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:

Guy Kawasaki is Chief Evangelist at Canva and formerly of Apple.

*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.