Pentagon leaders have begun reaching out to Silicon Valley tech companies for ideas on how the pace of innovation in the military can be accelerated. Perhaps they are looking in the wrong zip code. Detroit’s General Motors has managed to survive far more market upheavals than any Bay-area tech enterprise, and along the way it has pioneered just about every technology relevant to the world’s biggest industrial sector. J.D. Powers ranks all of GM’s U.S.-made vehicles among the most dependable in the world, surpassing the quality of Acuras, Audis, BMWs and Infinitis. Moreover, GM resembles the operational features of the defense department in a way no Silicon Valley company ever will; both organizations are engaged in developing long-cycle, signature platforms integrating numerous sub-systems. So maybe Pentagon leaders should be looking at General Motors if they want to learn lessons about innovation that can be readily applied to their own domain. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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