Practical insights for compliance and ethics professionals and commentary on the intersection of compliance and culture.

Tension between innovation and regulation

Cutting-edge technology and competent supervision are often depicted as being at odds. Silicon Valley regards state and federal regulatory approaches with professional skepticism, reflecting the widespread sentiment that supervision is oppressive and stifling to creativity and design.  As the rationale goes, the ideas of futurists, technologists, designers, and engineers cannot develop freely amid the restrictions of legal and compliance controls.  By the same token, oversight attempts are presumed to be inadequately prepared for the task of keeping up with fast-paced technological advancements.

Tension between innovation and regulation – with cryptocurrencies, other blockchain, self-driving cars and AI in general, and more high-tech advancements to come – are certain to be a major supervisory theme of 2018. Especially where consumer or investor protection is at stake, regulators such as the FTC, the CFTC, and the SEC are showing no hesitance in drawing bright lines for their standards and expectations.

The unfortunate side effect of innovative companies failing to operationalize compliance from the start is that too often, founder-led, start-up, and experimental businesses reject the traditional and even basic compliance controls that could contribute to valuable self-steering and demonstrate the meaningful risk assessment and self-analysis that relevant authorities want to see. For more on the challenges these businesses face down the line due to cutting corners early on, check out this post.

Regulatory competence does not have to be burdensome, stifling, or inconsistent with dynamic, disruptive commercial activities. The two focuses can  indeed nurture each other in a corporate environment toward innovation that is also sustainable and a business that supports continued developments because it’s built to last by being stable and mature.  For some best practices to consider from the start to allow innovation to flourish alongside a strong basis of regulatory compliance and organizational integrity, check out this post.

For a further perspective on how organizations should look to anticipate and integrate forward-facing self-regulatory mechanisms into their strategies, in order to maximize commercial opportunities as well as naturalize risk controls from inception, check out this post on considering cryptocurrencies in business planning.

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