Author, Speaker and Chief Evangelist of Canva, Guy Kawasaki has most fervently promoted his idea of innovation in the field of technology. He has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA with an honorary doctorate from Babson College. In this TEDx series hosted by TEDxBerkeley, he talks about the Art of Innovation. The various principles associated with it and about how he went about working with top giants like Google and Apple.
The term Evangelist is often understood as a person preaching and converting people into Christianity. But this term ‘Chief Evangelist’ coined by Guy Kawasaki himself, was a job outline he started off as a marketing tool back when he was an employee at Apple in 1984, tasked with marketing the Macintosh computers. A chief Evangelist is an ambassador for your product, service or business. In this talk, Kawasaki enlightens the crowd about making meaning instead of chasing behind money. His view in life is to do what one believes can truly bring a difference in this world. And if one could bring about a change in this world then money and success wouldn’t be far behind.
His 10 principles of the Art of Innovation is a blend of spirituality, human mantras and efficient working methods. By adding value to the world through Innovation, Kawasaki talks about adding meaning to life rather than chasing after money. This would create effective solutions to simple daily life problems.
Motivating mantras don’t have to be elaborate essays, rather 2-3 word clear, precise mantras that give a clear vision on how to move forward. Having idea management within a company, capturing and re-organising ideas can help teams to prioritize their goals and motivations. The process of innovating products or services does not involve moving to the next big product or bigger picture.
Re-working on how the existing product can better itself is the art of jumping the curve. This also applies to designers, where constant reworking helps them master the design itself. One understands its flaws, strengths and utility completely. Guy Kawasaki gives a very interesting example in his talk about jumping the curve. Rolling the DICE to make the product, Deep, Intelligent, Complete, and Elegant. This simply implies that the product must tackle its utility and design aspects together, giving it a superior user experience. In design, this is an important layer while considering Vitruvius’s principles of firmitas, utilitas, and venustas that is strength, utility and beauty.
While innovating there are times when the human mind envisions a complete finished product. As designing is an ongoing process of perfecting the idea in place, rather than eliminating the ‘crappiness’ from it, which after a point becomes insignificant. Like Apple had launched their macintosh to consolidate data, word processing and spreadsheet, it later became synonymous with desktop publishing. Sometimes the design’s intent needs to be strong enough to compensate for the flaws in them.
Change is often hard to accept, especially if it’s a breakthrough in a product. Until the user feels and appreciates the innovation in design, there can be no ‘out of the box creative solutions. This process could be tiresome and could have many critical reviews. But then again, the process of innovation is a continuous chain of prototyping, experimenting, and taking back feedback. This as designers could be disheartening as a lot of effort goes into prototyping, but perfecting details to the nail, is an achievement when the product or design is complete.
As designers we want our designs and products to solve universal problems with a singular code. But that’s where the line of mediocrity exists. If your innovation is solving a critical issue by zeroing in on it, it would still be a successful design/product. Last but not the least, there will be those who will downsize you. Levelling up, and reaching out to the next new curve is not always easy and for those who are being criticized can be demotivating but that shouldn’t become a hindrance to one’s progress in innovation.
There is also an interesting tip on pitching the idea to the public shared by Guy Kawasaki in his Ted talk. Check out to see what the special advice is!
All in all, the talk is directed towards people from the tech industry, but the values and tips can be used in various fields, right from business to art, from management to law. Innovation has taken place throughout time, right from the discovery of the wheel to flying cars. No matter how smooth it sounds on paper, the process itself is tedious. Guy Kawasaki is a living example of how one can create opportunities while working smart.
Healthcare Success. (2016). What is a Chief Evangelist and Why You Should Be One. [online] Available at: https://healthcaresuccess.com/blog/doctor-marketing/what-is-a-chief-evangelist-and-why-you-should-be-one.html
Kawasaki, G. (2019). Guy Kawasaki. [online] Guy Kawasaki. Available at: https://guykawasaki.com/guy-kawasaki/.
www.youtube.com. (n.d.). The art of innovation | Guy Kawasaki | TEDxBerkeley. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtjatz9r-Vc&t=215s