One of my co-authors of BIG POTATOES: the London Manifesto for Innovation, James Woudhuysen and I have just published an article on government and regulation on spiked-online, titled, ‘How the state is a roadblock to progress’ in which we argue that red tape-obsessed, visionless governments are holding back the kind of big and risky innovation society needs today.
This will be a constant theme we hope to expand upon when we launch BIG POTATOES this month. (Watch this space for an imminent announcement!). We concluded the article as follows:
“Innovation however, means making a persistent stab into the unknown. And the unknown cannot be regulated. We cannot routinise what we don’t yet know. Attempts to render technological change more predictable and ‘responsible’ can only mean closing down experiment and exploration.
“Innovation is a risky business. Technological innovation creates new problems, and can even lead to deaths. On the whole, however, mankind solves those new problems. However, the contemporary impeding of innovation through regulation reflects not just the momentary lapse of a government functionary, but a dyed-in-the-wool cultural malaise, a deep antipathy to taking chances, and a fundamental nervousness about spending money on risky enterprises.
“The over-regulation of innovation has acquired its own dynamic. What is now needed isn’t regulatory reform, but a sizeable – if discriminating – bonfire of controls that is more than merely rhetorical. To move Britain and the world forward, the deregulation of innovation is now an urgent imperative.