It was summer 2013. On regular weekends I stay indoors in pajamas and binge on Doritos. But, that weekend was going to be different.
The phone rang. Tara asked me to get ready. We were to visit the Tesla showroom for a test-drive of Tesla Model S.
The moment we walked to the car, our jaws-dropped, our hearts skipped . We were immediately teleported to the future with its futuristic design. Whoa.
When we sat inside, the experience was just, OUT OF THIS WORLD! There were no gears. Its top speed was 0->100KPH in 5.6 seconds! Faster than the BMW Z4.
So fast, I can only compare the feeling only to an airplane taking off. We didn’t feel changes in the transmission (because there were none); it was just this constant, unbelievable speed.
The car was totally electric. No hybrid. No electric fuels.And FIFTY percent less CO2 emissions than fuel cars. There were no fuel tanks which meant extra baggage space besides the seven lucky people that could fit in. And the battery charged to full capacity in 45 minutes flat . It was just way cleaner and better than any other car we had ever seen.
The technology had left me speechless. The dashboard had rear screen camera, a web browser, radio and charging. And there was autopilot mode. And there were foldable handles.And there were panoramic windshields. Phew! I could go on…….
Tara made a down-payment and booked the car on spot for 140K+ Dollars.
This April, 2017 Tesla Motors has overtaken industry giants such as Ford as investors bet huge on CEO Elon Musk’s electric dream. Tesla is an example of ground breaking thinking. It has taken on the big guys and hey, this is just the beginning!
Lets put things into perspective
In any industry, there are the big guys(with large cash and huge demand) and there are the small guys(less cash and less demand). And the new guys(entrants).
Lets look at what drives the Big Guy -
Which means he thinks in a box. Yeah the stereotype one.
The smaller player also thinks on similar lines.
But, it’s the new guy who is an outsider to the industry. If he wants completely overturn the industry dynamics, how can he become the leader?
How can he compete with the biggies and give him a run-for-his-life threat?
Answer: Ground- breaking thinking (fancy name for a simple thought process).
So here is the thing.
Rather than adopting conventional thinking by focusing on competitor’s products, he should start fresh and look at the problem anew. Adopt a 3-step methodology for ground breaking thinking-
a)What is the problem at hand
b)What are the available alternatives to the existing problem
c)Why the available alternatives are not in demand
Try to work around these 3 steps to create a new product that can address the problem differently.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc. adopts a macroscopic view of the problem at hand and zooms out completely to formulate the problem and how it can be done differently.
What was the problem at hand?
Need of cleaner transportation
What were the options available?
Electric vehicles, hybrids
Why were they not in demand?
- Low battery life
- Lousy looking cars
- Expensive cars
- Safety concerns
- Well more lousy cars which no one ever bought
He then adopted a step-by-step strategy to create mainstream electric cars that can be better than gasoline cars by addressing the above problems. This is how he has planned to go about Tesla-
Step 1: Make a small number of expensive, high performance cars
This proved to the World that electric power can indeed be desirable. It also generated the initial cash to get Tesla running. . The Tesla Roadster belonged to this generation.Roadster was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car . It was also the first all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge! Phew!
Step 2 : A car that would cost half as much, but sell in larger numbers
The Model S belongs to this generation. This will generate the momentum to fuel The ultimate mission of Tesla Inc.
Step 3: Mass production of electric cars for a sustainable future
So here is the mission of Tesla Inc.
“Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible. If we could have done that with our first product, we would have, but that was simply impossible to achieve for a startup company that had never built a car and that had one technology iteration and no economies of scale. Our first product was going to be expensive no matter what it looked like, so we decided to build a sports car, as that seemed like it had the best chance of being competitive with its gasoline alternatives.”
This is what Elon Musk initially started with. This was his one single powerful doable idea — mass production of electric cars for a sustainable future.
Making sense of what we have here
Ground breaking thinking is not rocket science
Its nothing ground breaking. You just need to have a doable idea that can change the conventional way of solving a problem.
Ground-breaking thinking is a process and will take time
It took time for Elon and possibly it will take a great deal of time for you as well before profits start to materialise. Try breaking down your goal into step-by-step approach and approach the problem a step at a time. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Mantra: Keep going.
Not all your ideas will succeed
Failures will inevitably happen. The product needs to be accepted by the target audience. Some ideas get accepted. Others don’t. But remember, you just need to have a powerful single idea that can turn the tide around.
Iterate and Re- Iterate
Keep refining the original thought. Brainstorm with your business team. Clouds will eventual clear.
Break down your large goals into smaller digestible ones
Step by step process helps in tackling problems on multiple fronts. They help in addressing challenges to your business a step at a time.
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