School & District Management Opinion

10 Tips For Innovation From Guy Kawasaki

By Patrick Larkin — November 17, 2015 2 min read
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I am attending the EdTeachTeacher iPad Summit Boston for the next two days and the opening keynote this morning was from Guy Kawasaki who offered his Top 10 List for Innovation. As I listened to the list, I was reflecting on how these 10 items connect to what we do in education. Hopefully many of these will resonate with you as well.

  1. Make Meaning - Great innovation is motivated by the desire to make meaning and to change the world. Companies that are successful started because they want to make the world a better place. If you are just trying to make money, then you attract the wrong kind of people.

  2. Make Mantra - You should have a two or three word explanation of why your school or class should exist. Mission statements are too long and not memorable

  3. Jump to the next curve - The problem with most businesses is that they define innovation as what they do in their business. Define yourself not as what you do, but as the benefit you provide. Great innovation begins in jumping or creating the next curve. Kawasaki cited Western Union as an example of a company that did not do this by refusing to see the benefit of telephones. There are certainly a large number of companies that became irrelevant due to their failure to see the next curve.

  4. Roll the dice - Don’t be afraid to take a chance and put out something unique to your markey. Kawasaki cited Ford’s my key that allows you to program the top speed into the key.

  5. Don’t Worry Be Crappy - Kawasaki who was a member of the development team for the first MacIntosh computer, admitted the first MacIntosh was a piece of crap, but he added that it was a revolutionary piece of crap due to some of the revolutionary aspects of the device. “Ship stuff that jumps to the next curve,” he encouraged. If you wait until it is perfect you may miss your opportunity.

  6. Let 100 Flowers Blossom - As an innovator you may think you have an exact customer and an exact use for what you do. You may encounter a situation where unintended people use your product in unintended ways. If this happens we need to embrace it and let this unintended use blossom.

  7. Polarize People - Great innovation polarizes people , it is one of the consequences. Anyone who has asked teachers to make the switch to Google docs can identify whith this one.

  8. Churn, Baby, Churn - This is the hardest thing about innovation, you need to be in denial and refuse to listen to naysayers.

  9. Niche Thyself - If you are designing a new product then need to make sure that what you are doing is both unique and valuable.

  10. Perfect your pitch - Customize your introduction to show that you know where you are and who you are talking to. Find out information about who you are talking to.

Kawasaki also gave us a bonus point with his 10-20-30 rule of power point:

  • 10 is the optimal number of slides in a presentation.

  • 20 is the optimal number of minutes for a side presentation.

  • 30 is the optimal font size (This makes you be more concise)

  • Finally use a Black or dark background - because if you use a light background you just launched power point and started typing.

    Here is the link to Guy’s entire slidedeck from the presentation.

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