Guy Kawasaki Discusses The Art of Innovation at TEDxBerkeley (Transcript)

Guy Kawasaki

Full transcript of chief evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki’s TEDx Talk: The Art of Innovation at TEDxBerkeley 2014 conference. This event took place on February 8, 2014.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: the-art-of-innovation-by-guy-kawasaki-at-tedxberkeley


Thank you. Thank you. ¶

Yes, it is true that I am a Stanford graduate. Don’t hold that against me, OK? My son goes to Cal, so I have some link to Cal. It is really an honor to speak at any TEDx, but to open one up is really, really special.

So last night I told my wife, of all places, in your wildest dreams, did you ever think that I would open up TEDxBerkeley?

And she said, “Honey, you’re not in my wildest dreams”.

So, welcome to my life. Welcome to my life.

You know, the theme of thinking and defining and creating is all about innovation. So my talk is about the art of innovation. I use the top 10 format. That’s because I’ve seen so many high-tech speakers, and I’ll tell you, most high-tech speakers suck. So I figured out very early in my career if you use a top 10 format, at least the audience can track progress to your speech. So if they think you suck they know about how much longer you’ll suck. So I have 10 key points for you.

So I worked at Apple. I’ve been a venture capitalist, an entrepreneur, an advisor to Google. I’ve done a lot of things and I’ve learned a lot about innovation, which I would like to pass on to you now so that you may go and change the world. Okay? This is my top 10 of the art of innovation.

  1. Make Meaning

It starts with the desire to make meaning as opposed to make money. Making meaning means that you change the world. And I think you’ll notice that if you happen to change the world, you will also probably make money. But if you start off with the sole desire to make money, you probably won’t make money, you won’t make meaning, you won’t change the world, and you will probably fail.

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So my first thought for you is determine how you can make meaning, how can you change the world? Here are some examples.

With Apple, Apple wanted to democratize computers. They wanted to bring computing power to everyone. That’s the meaning they made.

With Google, they wanted to democratize information, making information available to everyone.

With eBay, they wanted to democratize commerce so that anyone with a website could stand toe to toe with any other large retailer. Examples of companies making meaning. And YouTube, finally, wanted to enable people to create video, to upload video, to share video.

So this is an example of the company and the kind of meaning they make. And, as you know, they all made this kind of meaning and they’ve been highly, highly successful. So what I noticed in my career is that if you truly want to make meaning, it’s the first step towards innovation.

  1. Make A Mantra

The second step is to make a mantra: A two- or three, maybe four-word explanation of why your meaning should exist. This is an anti-example. This is the mission statement of Wendy’s: ‘The mission of Wendy’s is to deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation, and partnerships’.

I have been through Wendy’s many times in my life. I’ve eaten at Wendy’s. I’ve driven through Wendy’s. And in every occasion, it has never occurred to me that, Guy, what you are participating in is leadership, innovation, and partnerships. You know, excuse me, but I thought I was just getting French fries, Coke, and a hamburger. This is the problem with mission statements. Don’t make a mission statement. Make a mantra.

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