One of the greatest challenges in managing any business today – is answering the question how can we be more relevant to our customers. Business books are talking about unleashing the creativity of the workforce to help answer this question.
Now imagine you had a business with a solidly protected competitive advantage. What are the chances you’d give it all away?
The answer is “not very likely,” but that’s what makes the news from Tesla Motors so compelling. No matter what business you are in you need consider this news because Tesla has done something so counter-intuitive to accepted business thinking that it may be beyond brilliant.
Recently, Tesla unilaterally surrendered all of its electric car patents. And let’s be clear: these were valuable patents that has the automotive world buzzing. Rather than thinking outside the box, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is eliminating the box.
As Musk explained in a blog on Tesla’s site, the release of the patents could change the way cars are made. Essentially Musk is giving up an advantage in the small market of electric powered cars in hopes that Tesla’s patents will substantially increase electric car manufacturing and sales.
In his blog Musk wrote, “If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property land mines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal.”
Google’s android mobile operating system has surpassed Apple’s iphones because Google allowed openly sourced their technology encouraging brilliant minds to add to it.
Could this way of thinking possibly extend to changing shoppers’ attitudes on preparing meals and convenience store offers? Only time will tell when the first change agent makes its move.