Innovation Principles of Steve Jobs

Innovation Principles of Steve Jobs

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

Executive communication coach, Carmine Gallo, is the author of the “Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.” In 2011, Gallo presented at LeWeb Paris on the seven principles of innovation that guided Steve Jobs’ life. Because Jobs is most associated with innovation, studying his work provides a window into his mind. What is innovation? Innovation is creating a new way of doing something that results in positive change. It is identifying opportunities to create value. It is a commitment to continuous improvement. Below is a summary of the seven principles.

1 – Do What You Love [Passion]
You cannot inspire unless you are inspired.  You cannot be creative or innovative unless you are passionate.  People with passion can change the world for the better.  You have to have passion for what you do to be the best and to persevere when times get tough.  If you do not love what you do, you will eventually give up.  Passion is everything.  “Do not settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you will know it when you find it.”  What is your passion?  Jobs’ passion was not computers.  It was creating tools to unleash creativity and enrich peoples’ lives.

2 – Put A Dent in the Universe [Vision]
It is about vision.  A vision is clear, concise and consistently communicated (it should fit within a 140-character Twitter post).  Vision inspires evangelists.   In 1976, Jobs’ vision was “To put a computer in the hands of everyday people.”  Two people can see exactly the same thing, but interpret if differently based on vision.  Vision helps you see things others have missed.  For example, Xerox’s vision was too narrowly focused on copiers to realize what it had with its GUI technology.  What is your vision?  “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

3 – Kick-Start Your Brain [Creativity]
Creative, innovative leaders associate concepts and ideas from different fields and apply them to their own field. People with a broad set of experiences usually see things others miss.  For example, Jobs applied the knowledge that he learned in a Calligraphy class to create beautiful fonts for the Macintosh.  Be inquisitive.  Think differently.  Jobs believed creativity and innovation do not come from email.  They are most often the result of random, spontaneous face-to-face meetings with people.  What concepts and ideas can you connect from different fields?

4 – Sell Dreams, Not Products
Customers do not care about products.  They care about their dreams.  Help people accomplish their dreams and you will win them over as customers.  Focus on customers and satisfying their needs.  A good product is one that helps people lead better lives.  Jobs said (paraphrased): “You have to be different to buy an Apple computer.  You have to think different.  The people who buy Apple computers are creative spirits and looking to change the world.  Apple makes tools for them.  In their craziness, we see genius.”  Jobs also said, “Dream bigger.”

5 – Say No to 1,000 Things [Focus]
You have to focus.  Keep it simple.  People crave simplicity and understand clarity.  What can we remove?  How can we make the product easier to use?  In 1997, when Jobs returned to Apple, he reduced the product-line from 300 to ten.  Focus is about streamlining both products and people.  You have to put your “A” team on every product.  You cannot do it if you have 300 products.  Jobs also created focus by removing everything from a presentation or website except what he wanted people to focus on; e.g., “The Beatles Now on iTunes.”

6 – Create Insanely Great Experiences
Steve Jobs believed that you have to start with the customer experience first and then work backward to the technology.  It is not just about the product, it is about the customer’s experience with the product.  In fact, employees at Apple Stores are told to “enrich lives.”  What brand inspired the Apple Stores?  The Four Seasons.  For example, in each store, there is a concierge, but no cashier.  There is also a bar (Genius Bar) in the back, serving advice, not alcohol.  How can you innovate around the customer experience?

7 – Master the Message
You are judged by how well you communicate.  If you cannot convince people that your idea is good, it does not matter.  The brain does not pay attention to boring things.  Two techniques: 1) Rule of three.  The mind can only process three points of information in short-term memory; e.g., iPad 2 was faster, lighter and thinner.  2) Think visually.  Most presentations are built with bullets, sub-bullets and clip-art.  The average .PPT has 40 words.  Jobs used more pictures than words.  People remember 10% of information delivered verbally; up to 65% with images.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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