7 Steps to Innovation

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Oct, 29, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs resized 600







Thanks to Carmen Gallo, columnist for publishing "Innovate the Steve Jobs Way: 7 Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success" on SlideShare (

Mr. Gallo wrote the book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, in which he shares the seven principles that are largely responsible for his breakthrough success. 

Here are the principles that guided Jobs throughout his career:

  1. Do what you love.  Luckily I'm doing it.  I love integrated multichannel marketing and all it entails as the media and consumer evolves.  I'm fortunate I figured that out while taking "The Philosophy of Voting Behavior" in college and then pursuing a curriculum and career in marketing.
  2. Put a dent in the universe.  This entails a compelling vision that is easily articulated and remembered.  Jobs' vision was to "put a computer in the hands of everyday people."  Mr. Gallo believes this vision was intoxicating for four reasons: 1) it was bold; 2) it was specific; 3) it was concise; and, 4) it was consistently communicated.  Too many vision statements lack any of these four characteristics.
  3. Kick start your brain.  Breakthrough innovation requires creativity and creativity requires you to think differently about the way you think  -- hence the Apple campaign "Think Different" in 1997.  Seek out diverse experiences.  Look outside your industry for inspiration.  Bombard the brain with new experiences.  Remove the shackles of past experiences.
  4. Sell dreams, not products.  Is this the same as "sell the sizzle, not the steak?"  I agree that most customers are not able to tell you what they want in a new product.  They have more trouble thinking "outside the box" than marketers, engineers, research and development.  Nonetheless, you need to know your customers' needs and wants.  I believe you get this by having in-depth conversations in which you are able to uncover their emotional link to a brand to which they are loyal.
  5. Say no to 1,000 things.  Focus.  Your customers want simplicity and simplicity requires you to eliminate anything that clutters the user experience.  That reminds me of the Einstein quote, "make it as simple as it can be but not simpler - that's when you get unintended consequences."
  6. Create insanely great experiences.  I like that Steve Jobs studied The Four Seasons prior to opening Apple Stores and the focus of the store is "enriching lives."  This is consistent with Zappos being in the customer service business.
  7. Master the message.  Steve Jobs was considered a great corporate storyteller because his presentations informed, educated and entertained.  Avoid bullet points and think visually about how to bring the story you are telling to life.

What do you do to "think different(ly)?"

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Tags: consumer insights, customer experience, vision, raving fans, innovation