Lessons from Tesla's Approach to Innovation
Tesla’s innovation strategy offers lasting lessons for any innovator, especially in terms of
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There are four factors how innovators build up their innovation capital: Who you are, who you know, what you have done, your ability to draw attention to your ideas. Most notably, innovation capital is something accumulated over time through thoughtful action.
The Cybertruck is then about getting attention and proving that Tesla is one of the world's most innovative companies, specifically for the purpose of building Tesla's ability to win support from stakeholders.
Elon Musk is a master of building and using innovation capital to win support for his ideas. To gain support:
A part of Tesla's strategy, which forms the core products and requires the most investment, aims to transform an industry by paying attention not just to the product, but to the entire product ecosystem.
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Tesla (formerly Tesla Motors) was founded in 2003 and named after the famous 19th Century inventor Nikola Tesla, who is idolized by the tech community and engineers.
The current CEO of Tesla wasn’t the founder of the company and joined in 2004. His investments and lobbying provided the company with much-needed traction to build the first completely electric sports car, called the Roadster, which went into production in 2008.
The futuristic electric sports car was a technical marvel but out of reach for most people at USD 100,000, and also had a slow charge.
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"I tend to approach things from a physics framework. And physics teaches you to reason from first principles ra..."
Comparison thinking: comes up with solutions based on pre-existing ideas. It is the way we normally think but it also limits the solutions to possible permutations of what already exists.
First principles thinking: starts free of preconceptions by studying the fundamentals of something and then working your way to a new thing. This helps you understand complex problems.
The CEO might re-envision the way his company tackles development, by bringing in other departments that don't normally get to participate in this work, and creating incentives for original thinkin...
It may seem that practicing First Principle Thinking requires more mental energy and intellectual rigor, but it simply requires a different type of thinking and intellectual rigor.
By definition, true innovation only occurs if we start with the First Principle. To make the leap from the impossible to the possible, we can't just iterate on what already exists.
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