Steve Jobs is one of those entrepreneurs who seems universally either loved or hated, but not many will argue with his ability to innovate in the technology product arena over the years. He was instrumental in creating Apple, which has pioneered a dazzling array of new products, and recently surpassed Microsoft, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
Carmine Gallo, in a new book titled “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” outlines Jobs “insanely different principles for breakthrough success.” I’m not convinced that Jobs’ world is that simple, but Carmine has boiled it down to seven principles, which I suggest every entrepreneur can learn from, as follows:
- Do what you love. Think differently about your career. Steve Jobs has followed his heart his entire life and that, he says, has made all the difference. Innovation cannot occur in the absence of passion and, without it, you have little hope of creating breakthrough ideas.
- Put a dent in the Universe. Think differently about your vision. Jobs attracts like-minded people who share his vision and who help turn his ideas into world-changing innovations. Passion fuels Apple’s rocket and Jobs’ vision creates the destination.
- Kick start your brain. Think differently about how you think. Innovation does not exist without creativity, and for Steve Jobs, creativity is the act of connecting things. Jobs believes that a broad set of experiences broadens our understanding of the human experience.
- Sell dreams, not products. Think differently about your customers. To Jobs, people who buy Apple products are not “consumers.” They are people with dreams, hopes, and ambitions. Jobs builds products to help them fulfill their dreams.
- Say no to 1,000 things. Think differently about design. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, according to Jobs. From the designs of the iPod to the iPhone, from the packaging of the Apple’s products to the functionality of the Apple Web site, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
- Create insanely great experiences. Think differently about your brand experience. Jobs has made Apple stores the gold standard in customer service. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to make deep, lasting emotional connections with their customers.
- Master the message. Think differently about your story. Jobs is a great corporate storyteller, turning product launches into an art form. You can have the most innovative idea in the world, but if you cannot get people excited about it, it doesn’t matter.
Carmine suggests and I agree that these principles for breakthrough innovation will only work if you see yourself as the brand. Whether you are an entrepreneur working out of your bedroom, or a small business owner looking for ideas to improve your business, you represent the most important brand of all – yourself.
How you talk, walk, and act reflects upon the brand. Most importantly, how you think about yourself and you business will have the greatest impact on the creation of new ideas that will grow your business and improve the lives of your customers.
Thus you need to look inward first and assess your basic potential. Then imagine what you could achieve in business with the real insight and inspiration. Imagine what you could accomplish if you had Steve Jobs guiding your decisions. What would Steve Jobs do? Follow the principles above and you will know.