In her address at the opening of QITCOM 2011 ictQATAR’s inaugural Conference and Exhibition, Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber described Guy Kawasaki as “one of the true visionaries of our industry” and said that he is “a clear thinker and an innovator, and I am sure we can all learn from him.” Kawasaki, keynote speaker at QITCOM, went on to enthrall the audience in the conference hall with insights from his many years of experience in the ICT industry.
His keynote was a crash course for wannabe entrepreneurs and innovators. If I was asked to sum it all up in one sentence his message was – no matter what, just don’t be discouraged and keep on moving forward. That is also the essence of innovation, the theme for the first day of QITCOM. Kawasaki shared ten (eleven in fact if you count the “bonus” tip he shared at the end of his keynote) insights that could make or break any innovation. I will talk about a few that I thought really struck a chord.
“Make meaning” – Kawasaki’s first tip – is really a most practical and basic thing when you start something new. If your innovation or idea doesn’t provide a meaningful outcome you can try your best to sell it but no one would notice. The other thing that impressed me was about “jumping to the next curve”. It is not always about what the idea is about now, but it’s definitely about what it can potentially provide. How can your now be the next big thing? “Don’t be content with doing things 10 or 15 % better,” Kawasaki said, “Think about doing thing 10 times better.” And when you do the thing 10 times better, do it with a panache, “roll the dice” and have depth in your innovation which equates to having many functionalities; and products “that are smart, complete and elegant”.
He also advised that if you are new to this game of making things, do not wait for the moment when your product is absolutely perfection. Of course that doesn’t mean you start dumping junk products in the market but once you have on hand a product that has some great elements, just ship it out. Once you ship your product out you might face another dilemma – all the marketing research and strategy that you based your target market on might fail. The people the product is designed for may not buy. They may not use it for what you thought they would. In such a situation, let the market decide what the innovative product can do or what it will be used for. Kawasaki’s advice: take your best shot at making an innovative product, market it the best you can and then just wait and see how people and markets embrace it.
Create a niche for yourself by creating an innovation that provides the highest value to the consumer and has the highest uniqueness. I was wondering what he meant by the “highest uniqueness” when Kawasaki elaborated. Your product is unique if it addresses something missing in the market…something that only you can do and something that the market and the end users find remarkable.
Kawasaki concluded his keynote with this simple tip that he says is really effective is presenting your ideas or products in a really effective manner. This was the 10-20-30 rule for PowerPoint presentations –
- 10: the maximum and most effective number of slides you should have in your presentation
- 20: the maximum and optimum amount of time you should spend in explaining these 10 slides
- 30: the optimum font size for emphasis
And it was his concluding tip that I like very much, especially the “20 minutes” part despite the fact that Kawasaki’s last slide was numbered 61! You can access Kawasaki’s presentation here or watch it below.