As I am working on competitively unpredictable company cases for my next book, I have gathered some good reads on Tesla here. At the end, I also share some innovation questions that I would to ask Tesla. Perhaps you can help with some good ones here?
First, the good reads…
• Innovation Diffusion Lessons from Tesla: This is a great article by Tim Kastelle in which he mixes his own views with insights from others. In particular, I like his use of a diagram and his observations on this:
“This diagram shows how innovation diffusion usually works. New ideas spread along an S-Curve – the solid line in the diagram – or if they fail they follow the curve marked B. But when there’s a lot of hype around an idea, we expect it to follow the curve marked A. Incumbents that think they have a lot of time to respond expect the new idea to follow the curve marked C. But new ideas that succeed don’t follow any of these curves – the follow the S Curve.”
You should check out the diagram – and read the whole post.
• Strangling Innovation – Tesla versus “Rent Seekers”: Steve Blank describes how Tesla – and other disruptive companies – fights against incumbent that rely on protection from the government. They are “rent seekers” defined by Blank as “individuals or organizations that have succeeded with existing business models and look to the government and regulators as their first line of defense against innovative competition.”
• Is Tesla’s Customer Experience Driving Car Dealers Over the Edge?: Michael Hinshaw highlights the strong focus by Tesla on delivering a great customer experience and how the established industry fights back as the “rent seekers” they are.
I am pondering on questions to ask Tesla. My first takes include:
It is my experience that things just work differently in Silicon Valley when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. Can you share a few examples on this?
This statement comes from the Jobs part of the Tesla website. “Tesla builds real products – not presentations. You must be a builder.” Here, Tesla also asks these questions to provide a hint on what they seek in their employees. “Do you question tradition and constantly think of ways to improve status quo? Do you thrive in environments where brilliance is common and challenge is the norm? Are you excited by challenge because you’re amongst the best in your field? If so, you’d be in good company at Tesla Motors.”
Can you share some insights on how Tesla hires innovative people and what you do to keep them sharp?
Building on the latter question; what is being done at Tesla in order to maintain and further develop your strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship?
Tesla is just as much about business model / value chain innovation as it is technological innovation. How do you balance the many different kinds of innovation that are at play at Tesla?
What would you ask the people responsible for innovation at Tesla? Well, that would actually be the people running Tesla because this company is all about innovation.