The Innovative Power of a Mantra

Mantras are powerful things.

Guy Kawasaki, serial entrepreneur and former Apple evangelist, says that companies and organizations should dump their mission statements. Instead, he advocates mantras.

Mantras are clear, concise answers to the existential question, “Why are we here?” That answer should be stated in terms of value for the customer, not in terms of products. It should be very short, no longer than three words, or 10 syllables.

For instance, on a recent episode of Shark Tank, Mark Cuban gave one million dollars to Austin-based Beat Box Beverages. Beat Box sells box wine with

Why Mark Cuban Gave a Million Dollars to Beatbox Beverages

Mark Cuban just invested a million dollars in an Austin startup that produces cheap boxed wine, in a package that looks a little like a boom box.

After the Shark Tank episode aired, I was at a gathering with other entrepreneurs. They scratched their heads, pondering what just happened. After all, there wasn't anything exceedingly innovative or universe-denting about the product. Yet Cuban went "all in."

While the other Sharks sharpened their pencils and calculated their usual valuations, Mark Cuban wrapped his head around the real value. "You guys don't sell wine," he says. "You sell fun!" 

In Innovation Culture, Everyone is an MVP

Innovation is heavy work, requiring a solid foundation.

In engineering, whenever there is some kind of spectacular failure, like the collapse of a building or bridge, the cause is usually a bad foundation. Certainly, the practice of innovation involves failure and iteration; nevertheless, it must be undergirded by a solid foundation.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Peter Drucker declared that culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Innovation is a practice done by people, with an innovation mindset, within an innovation culture.