How can the U.S. remain a global leader in innovation amid increasing competition? How can CEOs inspire innovation in their companies? Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, discussed these issues with Matt Murray, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal, at the Journal’s CEO Council summit. Edited excerpts follow.
WSJ: You’ve spoken often in your career about how important it was for you, as a young entrepreneur and innovator, to come to America. And you’ve said there’s no other country where you could have achieved what you’ve achieved today. Would that still apply in 2020? And are we, broadly as a society, doing everything we should be doing to foster that same environment that brought you here?
MR. MUSK: The U.S. is still great with respect to innovation and fostering entrepreneurship. We don’t want to be complacent, and we want to say, “OK, how can we make it better over time?” And we want to be cautious about the gradual creep of regulations and bureaucracy.
We should be aware of this, I think, particularly at the state level.
WSJ: When you think through an innovation lens in the broadest sense, what’s the right role for government? Where should government be a player, and where should it be hands-off?