Guy Kawasaki: 10 Tips to Master the Art of Innovation

AVG Technologies (AVG) Cloud Partner Summit in Phoenix featured former Apple (AAPL) Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki today. Here's his advice for managed service providers (MSPs).

Dan Kobialka, Contributing writer

October 22, 2014

3 Min Read
Former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki
Former Apple Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki

Do you know Wendy’s mission statement? Former Apple (AAPL) Chief Evangelist Guy Kawasaki certainly does: “The mission of Wendy’s is to deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation and partnerships.”

Kawasaki, who delivered the keynote address at this week’s AVG Technologies (AVG) Cloud Partner Summit in Phoenix, said he believes the fast food chain’s 22-word mission statement is too long and too vague to be effective.

Instead, he recommended managed service providers (MSPs) use a two- or three-word mantra to highlight their mission.

“Not having a mission statement, I think, is a good thing,” Kawasaki told summit attendees.

Kawasaki’s keynote, titled “The Art of Innovation,” featured 10 tips that MSPs can use to improve their businesses:

1. Make meaning

Kawasaki noted money is important for MSPs, but it should not be their sole motivation, and he recommended “making meaning” to prosper in today’s business world.

“Successful companies want to make meaning,” Kawasaki said. “I believe that if you try to make meaning, you’ll also make money.”

2. Make a mantra

A two- or three-word statement that describes what your company does can help an MSP connect with its customers.

Kawasaki provided several examples of effective mantras, including:

  • Nike — Authentic athletic performance

  • FedEx — Peace of mind

“Take some time out and create a mantra for your organization,” Kawasaki said. “The test for a mantra is that every employee can recite it.”

3. Jump to the next curve

Most companies start on a curve and die on a curve, according to Kawasaki.

An MSP that considers the benefits it provides customers, Kawasaki said, has the necessary perspective to stay ahead of the curve and understand when to jump to the next one.

“When you think about your company, don’t define yourself in terms of what you already do. Think about the benefits that you provide,” Kawasaki added.

4. Roll the DICEE

Kawasaki recommended MSPs use “DICEE” when they make decisions.

DICEE refers to:

  • Deep

  • Intelligent

  • Complete

  • Empowering

  • Elegant

Kawasaki noted using DICEE regularly can help an MSP provide value to its customers and stay ahead of its rivals.

5. Don’t worry, be crappy

Failure happens, Kawasaki said, but MSPs should embrace and own their mistakes. He also pointed out waiting for perfection to happen ultimately can do more harm than good.

“If you wait for this perfect world where all the software and tools are there, you will never ship, and the world will pass you by,” Kawasaki said.

6. Let 100 flowers blossom

Kawasaki pointed out a company that releases a product or service could have a target audience, but customers may find new ways to use this business’ offering.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, Kawasaki said, and he recommended MSPs should declare victory if and when this happens.

7. Polarize people

A great product or service polarizes people, Kawasaki said. MSPs should be worried, however, if customers ignore their offerings.

“Great products polarize people. Some people will love it, some people will despise it, and that’s ok. What you need to worry about is if people don’t care,” Kawasaki said.

8. Churn baby, churn

Innovation requires customer feedback, according to Kawasaki.

An MSP that actively seeks customer feedback can thrive, Kawasaki said, because it will be able to find innovative ways to connect with its customers.

9. Niche thyself

Kawasaki said MSPs should determine if their offerings are unique and provide value to their customers.

By doing so, Kawasaki pointed out an MSP can fulfill its customers’ needs.

10. Perfect your pitch

An MSP often has to promote its products and services to customers, Kawasaki said.

Developing a perfect pitch, meanwhile, ensures an MSP can explain why its offerings are unique and valuable.

“Great innovators have to be able to convince people with pitches, speeches and presentations,” he said.

Kawasaki offered a bonus tip for MSPs as well — don’t let the bozos grind you down.

“Do not let the bozos ground you down,” he said. “They’re going to tell you it can’t be done, it shouldn’t be done and it isn’t necessary, but don’t let them grind you down.”

Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Dan Kobialka

Contributing writer, Penton Technology

Dan Kobialka is a contributing writer for MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. In the past, he has produced content for numerous print and online publications, including the Boston Business Journal, Boston Herald and Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State College (now Bridgewater State University). In his free time, Kobialka enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football (Go Patriots!).  

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