As we kick off the New Year, leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners are looking for new and innovative ways to grow their brands. Who better to turn to than one of the most innovative leaders of our time – Apple CEO Steve Jobs? Through first-person interviews with Apple employees, experts, and analysts, as well as Steve Jobs’ own words over the past thirty years, I discovered that there are 7 principles largely responsible for Jobs’ breakthrough success. These are described in my new book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs, and they are principles that I will discuss in blog posts over the coming weeks. Briefly, here are the principles that anyone can use to “think differently” about their service, product or brand.
Principle One: Do what you love. Steve Jobs once told a group of employees, “People with passion can change the world for the better.” Jobs has followed his heart his entire life and that passion, he says, has made all the difference. It’s very difficult to come up with new, creative, and novel ideas unless you are passionate about moving society forward.
Principle Two: Put a dent in the universe. Passion fuels the rocket, but vision directs the rocket to its ultimate destination. In 1976, when Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple, Jobs’ vision was to put a computer in the hands of everyday people. In 1979, Jobs saw an early and crude graphical user interface being demonstrated at the Xerox research facility in Palo Alto, California. He knew immediately that the technology would make computers appealing to “everyday people.” That technology eventually became The Macintosh, which changed everything about the way we interact with computers. Xerox scientists didn’t realize its potential because their “vision” was limited to making new copiers. Two people can see the exactly the same thing, but perceive it differently based on their vision.
Three: Kick start your brain. Steve Jobs once said “Creativity is connecting things.” Connecting things means seeking inspiration from other industries. At various times, Jobs has found inspiration in a phone book, Zen meditation, visiting India, a food processor at Macy’s, or The Four Seasons hotel chain. Jobs doesn’t “steal” ideas as much as he uses ideas from other industries to inspire his own creativity.
Principle Four: Sell dreams, not products. To Steve Jobs, people who buy Apple products are not “consumers.” They are people with hopes, dreams and ambitions. He builds products to help people achieve their dreams. He once said, “some people think you’ve got to be crazy to buy a Mac, but in that craziness we see genius.” How do you see your customers? Help them unleash their inner genius and you’ll win over their hearts and minds.
Principle Five: Say no to 1,000 things. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.” He is committed to building products with simple, uncluttered design. And that commitment extends beyond products. From the design of the iPod to the iPad, from the packaging of Apple’s products, to the functionality of the Web site, in Apple’s world, innovation means eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
Principle Six: Create insanely great experiences. The Apple store has become the world’s best retailer by introducing simple innovations any business can adopt to create deeper, more emotional connections with their customers. For example, there are no cashiers in an Apple store.