Earth to Elon Musk

Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Bloomberg Businessweek, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman questions recent comments by Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, that “professional managers” aren’t “very creative or adaptable.”

Wartzman writes that such a stance is “dangerous” because Musk makes it “sound as if innovation is the purview of only a chosen few” when, in fact, “innovation is a discipline that almost anyone can and should learn.”

The column goes on to explore and explain Peter Drucker’s insight that, rather than genius, most innovation results from “analysis, system, and hard work.”

Even Thomas Edison, Drucker pointed out, “applied a systematic method” to his inventing by laying down clear goals, standards and controls—all the stuff of good professional management. “One indication that he may have been on the right path,” Drucker wrote, “is the large number of his assistants who became successful inventors in their own right, though clearly devoid of outstanding creativity.”