The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

Famed New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, wrote that America needs more jobs — Steve Jobs. As a journalist, Carmine Gallo took Friedman’s admonition as a challenge. After extensive interviews with experts, former Apple employees and research into Jobs’ own words, he discovered ten principles that drive Steve Jobs and his success and detailed these principles detailed in his new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

I asked Carmine to come up with a list of tips that he believes anyone can apply to be more innovative, creative, and ultimately successful, and here’s what he provided me:

1.  See yourself as an innovator. Innovation simply means a new way of doing things that results in positive change. That means anyone can do it on small, or large scale. Innovation is not something that’s relegated to global brands. Steve Jobs’ greatest innovation-a computer for everyday people-took shape when Jobs and his high school pal, Steve Wozniak, were assembling circuit boards in Jobs’ parents house. It didn’t matter that Jobs was fighting with his mom for kitchen space; Jobs always saw Apple as a brand that would change the world.

2.  Do what you love. When Steve Jobs was asked to give advice to young entrepreneurs he said, “I think you should get a job as a busboy until you find something you’re passionate about. Have the courage to follow your heart, Jobs advised Stanford students in 2005. “You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” You cannot create world-changing innovations unless you are truly passionate about moving society forward.

3.  Put a dent in the universe. Passion fuels the rocket but vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination. When Steve Jobs saw a demonstration of a crude, early version of a graphical user interface at the Xerox research facility in 1979, he realized it would help him fulfill his vision of putting a computer in the hands of everyday people. Jobs once said Xerox could have dominated the computer industry but its vision was limited to building a new copier. Two people can see the same thing but perceive it differently based on their vision.

4.  Kick-start your brain. According to Steve Jobs, creativity is connecting things. Jobs is a creative person partly due to the fact that he’s spent a lifetime seeking out new and novel experiences: studying calligraphy, visiting an ashram, observing kitchen appliance design at Macy’s or studying the customer service experience at the Four Seasons hotel. Jobs doesn’t “steal” as much as he “applies” ideas from different fields. Bombard your brain with new experiences outside your field.

5.  Sell dreams, not products. At the end of his first major presentation in 1997, when Jobs returned to Apple after a 12-year absence, he paused and said, “We are going to serve the people who have been buying our products since the beginning. A lot of times people think they’re crazy. But in that craziness, we see genius.” Help your customers unlock their inner genius and you’ll win them over.

6. Say no to 1,000 things. When Mark Parker took over as Nike’s CEO, he called up Steve Jobs to ask for advice. Jobs said, “Get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.” No one has ever received better advice.

7.  Strive for simplicity. Apple design guru, Jonathan Ive, reflected Jobs’ approach to product design when he said, “We are absolutely consumed by trying to develop a solution that is very simple, because as physical beings we understand clarity.” When you can design a product like the iPad that is so simple a two-year old can use it (yes, it’s on YouTube) you know you’re on to something.

8.  Create insanely different experiences. The Apple Store has raised the bar on customer service. Apple’s goal is not to “move metal” but to “enrich lives.” Start enriching lives and watch your sales soar.

9.  Master the message. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t convince anyone, it doesn’t matter. Steve Jobs is the world’s greatest corporate storyteller. His presentations inform, educate and entertain. His presentation techniques are thoroughly detailed in my previous book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

10.  Dream bigger. When a Disney executive who had the responsibility of revamping the Disney Stores approached Steve Jobs for advice, Jobs said, “Dream bigger.” Jobs has always dreamed bigger and that, he says, has made all the difference.

Perhaps dreaming big is the greatest lesson we can learn from Steve Jobs. See genius in your craziness. Believe in yourself and your vision, and be constantly prepared to defend those beliefs.

Post Credit: Guy Kawasaki


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