What would you do to learn the innovation secrets of Steve Jobs. The secrets used to create the iPod, iPad, and iPhone, generating billions in revenue. Would you read a book? Would you read an entertaining book? Of course you would.
In his new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, Carmine Gallo does the heavy lifting… he performs the research, he illuminates the patterns, and he delivers the seven secrets of innovation in an entertaining and insightful tapestry of principles and stories.
All you have to do is absorb the message.
The stories make sure the secrets stick with you and help you create new products. In addition, at the end of chapters Carmine provides iLessons − Three key points for that secret.
The first secret may be the most important. “Love What You Do.” If you dislike your work, you’re not going to put in extra time, imagine new ideas, or dream up new products. First, find something you love to do, the other principles will take flight.
Let’s review three of the seven secrets that will make your business soar.
- Kick-Start Your Brain
- Say No to 1,000 Things
- Create Insanely Great Experiences
Kick-Start Your Brain
Creativity is just connecting things.
− Steve Jobs
Why do some people swim in new ideas while others tread on dry lakes? It's the key skill needed to create new ideas − Connecting seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas. People who have an affinity for new and different experiences are more likely to make connections from different fields. Steve Jobs is drawn to new experiences − the art of calligraphy, meditation, trips to India.
How did Steve’s experiences affect the Mac? None of us would have seem the beautiful typefaces in the early Macs unless Jobs had dropped in on a Calligraphy class. In addition to this example, Carmine writes about other product innovations directly attributable to Steve’s love of new experiences.
Here’s one of Carmine’s practical iLessons: To seek new experiences, if you typically read nonfiction, read a fiction book. Read different magazines. Read about music, architecture, design...
Seeking new experiences, you may take a yoga class and make your body and mind more flexible. As you become more flexible, your metaphor thermometer will rise and you will start using metaphors to envision new products.
The mercurial Mr. Jobs has a flare for using metaphors to describe products. In 1981, Jobs wrote a business plan comparing Macintosh to a crankless Volkswagen. He also thinks of personal computers as bicycles for your mind. Notice how Steve’s metaphors lack clichés, they have sharp edges and grab your mind by the lapels.
Metaphors are more than word connections, they connect us to major innovations. Harvard Business Professor, Gerald Zaltman writes, “Metaphor is the engine of imagination. In fact, the use of metaphor together with visual imagery lies at the heart of all major advances in science.”
Story expert, James Bonnet tells us that metaphors spring from archetypes, and artistically treated metaphors communicate with our creative unconscious and reveal the hidden truth.
So whether it’s the model, the mythology, or the man that inspires you, start using metaphors to kick-start your brain.
Say No to 1,000 Things
All CEOs are project managers to some degree. They will either manage an issues list or design their way out of a problem. If they manage an issues list, they’re probably at the mercy of people who created the problem. When Steve Jobs regained the helm at Apple, he designed his way out of the problems circling Apple like a school of starving sharks.
Carmine shows how Jobs turned Apple into a profitable company through design based on simplicity. First, Jobs reduced total product offerings from 350 to 10. Then he focused on making those products remarkable and elegant. Apple designers focused on simplicity, the essential meaning of the product, and what creates great experiences for customers.
Apple has always been known for brilliant and easy-to-use interfaces. With the introduction of touch screen interfaces, it’s easier than ever to use Apple products. Concepts learned on one device can be applied to another. This YouTube video illustrates iPad’s simplicity. So simple a two-year-old can use it.
In design, subtraction adds value. Matthew May writes, “...our addiction to addition results in inconsistency, overload or waste, and sometimes all three.” And from Jim Collins, “A great piece of art is composed not just of what is in the final piece, but equally important what is not.”
Steve Jobs believes he creates works of art. Apple’s art is uncluttered and elegant. As a testament to the iPod’s simplicity look at how Jobs can describe the device:
“Plug it in. Whirrrrrr. Done.”
Truth is, flexible, Lego-like software elements are the basis for simplicity and − Insanely great experiences.
Create Insanely Great Experiences
Many software executives believe they get paid for the software they create. That’s not really true. People really pay for customer experiences.
Apple designs customer experiences − and marketing − into its products and stores. When you visit an Apple Store you may not know what’s different about the store... You will feel it.
Jobs hired Target executive Ron Johnson who also believes in beautiful designed products. Together they created a vision for the Apple Store − Enrich Lives. Johnson asked his team, “What would a store that enriches lives look like?” Here’s several design concepts that help Apple Stores stand apart:
- Design uncluttered stores.
- Allow customers to test-drive products.
- Offer a concierge experience (Genius Bar)
All executives have the opportunity to audit customer experiences. Simply purchase a product from your company or dial the customer support line. What kind of experience are you delivering?
iLesson: Review every customer touch point with your brand. Make every effort to create a deeper, more lasting relationship with customers.
There’s four more secrets to learn when you read Carmine’s book. And the secrets can be used to produce new products or enhance your brand.
Together, the seven secrets will give you the confidence, boldness and control to create products that delight your customers. What final advice might Steve Jobs give you about innovation.