AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

From Ice Harvesting to Bozos: Guy Kawasaki Talks Innovation

Posted by JillianLaffrey on July 22, 2014

guy-kawasaki-business-weekAt a TEDx Berkeley conference, you expect to hear a lot about innovation. You expect people to sing the praises of Apple and Google, to wax eloquent about the startup culture, to get a little nostalgic about their high school nerd days. How they’re essentially the same people now, but they get invitations to tech expos instead of to basements to play D&D. Okay, who am I kidding? That definitely still happens.

What you don’t necessarily expect to hear is a story about ice harvesting. No, that’s not a typo. Tonight, Guy Kawasaki talked about the ice harvesting business to an audience of geeks, artists, entrepreneurs, and Cal graduates. He also described himself as “an expert in bozos,” but we’ll get to that later.

So why the ice harvesting business? Guy took this slight historical detour to illustrate how innovation is not just about fostering new ideas. It’s about taking ideas to the next curve. And the next and the next. It’s about understanding who you are and why you believe in your product. And it’s about being open to the possibility that your spectacular new idea is only just beginning. That it will be molded and shaped and honed, often by consumers actually using the product. And you better be a part of that process. If not, your innovation will take wing—without you.

So without further ado, here’s Guy Kawasaki’s Top 10* Tenets of the Art of Innovation.

  1.  Make meaning

If you set out to change the world, you just might do it. And you might even make a profit. If you set out to make money, there’s no guarantee of doing either.

  1. Make Mantra

Don’t make a mission statement. Make a mantra. This combination of 2-3 words encapsulates the core of you or your brand—why you exist. Think FedEx’s “Peace of Mind.”

  1. Jump to the Next Curve

Here’s where the ice harvesting business comes in. The first ice harvesters cut ice from frozen lakes. The second ice harvesters froze and stored ice in large factories. The third ice harvesters just sold refrigerators. And guess what? None of the first ice harvesters became refrigerator salesmen. Always think about what’s the next curve—and get there as soon as you can.

  1. Roll the Dicee

Innovate your innovation. Think about how to enhance, energize, and streamline your product. Consider how your product or brand empowers its users to become more creative, more powerful, more productive. And don’t forget the Herman Miller principle: elegance is forever.

  1. Don’t Worry, Be Crappy

“It’s okay to have elements of crappiness to your revolution.” Enough said.

  1. Let 100 Flowers Blossom

People use products in ways that creators never anticipate. And that’s a good thing! For it’s how a consumer perceives your product—more than your own ideas or marketing—that determines what that product is. So don’t be proud—be happy that people want to use your product in exhilaratingly new ways.

  1. Polarize People

Most people love their Tivos. But the AllState Guy probably hates them. Excellent products elicit an emotional response in people, which means people will either adore your product, or trash it on consumer product review websites. But at least they feel strongly about it.

  1. Churn, Baby, Churn

Everything can be improved, especially if you’ve embraced the “Don’t Worry, Be Crappy” tenet. So go ahead, release Version 3.1.7 two weeks after 3.1.6 came out. Just make sure that your product is getting better every time.

  1. Niche Thyself

Draw a simple axis. On the X-axis is Value. On the Y-axis is Uniqueness. The best products are in the upper right—totally unique, but really valuable. Trust me, you don’t want to be in any of the other three quadrants.

10. Perfect Your Pitch 

Talking about your idea or product in the right way leads to consumer buy in (and buying). So customize your introduction; consider culture, geography, and demographics. And don’t forget the 10-20-30 rule of presentations. All good presentations have roughly 10 slides, are presented in 20 minutes, and use a minimum of 30pt font.**

11. Don’t Let the Bozos Grind You Down

As a self-proclaimed “expert in bozos,” Guy knows there are only two kinds: 1) the painfully obvious loser bozo, and 2) the bozo who has a lot of stuff that ends in “i” (i.e. Ferrari, Armani, Lamborghini, etc). Learning how to deal with these two kinds of bozos will prepare you for a life in the business world.

So, there you have it – the 10 11 tenets of the Art of Innovation. Make sure to watch the recording and post your thoughts here!

* 11

** Note that Guy’s presentation far exceeded the 10 slide rule.


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