“Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.” Elon Musk
I just recently read Elon Musk’s blog on the Tesla Website, All Our Patent Are Belong To You, where Musk cracked the dam holding back innovation in the auto industry with the stroke of his pen (or the tapping of his keyboard). Tesla, under his leadership is open sourcing all of their patents and will allow anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. Think about what this does to the future of manufacturing energy efficient automobiles, let alone, manufacturing. What does this do to start the demise of the archaic patent system?
To me, what Musk has done, has changed the game for his company and the future of business in the world. Without the protection of patents, companies such as Tesla, who embrace the freedom of open sourcing will be forced to constantly grow and innovate. Sitting back and resting on your laurels will no longer be a viable business model. Saving millions and billions of dollars of your organizations fund, that would have been spent protecting your patents can now be spent building a better product, Musk, sees a future where companies like Tesla will benefit from the challenge and like elite athletes, benefit from the competition created by playing the best, on an open field.
Real Visioning the Future is not about seeing 10% growth in the next quarter, nor cutting costs over the next year. Real Visioning the Future is about seeing a future so clearly that a leader can anticipate the real challenges and meet them head on, years before they become a reality. Will Musk be right about leaving the “safety” of the long-broken patent system, I do not know. But, I do know that I, for one, am a person who would follow a leader with a vision like that. What about you?