Unlock Regulatory Blocks to Business Model Innovation

Renee Hopkins's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, Dec 03, 2015

After a couple of weeks talking about the positive side of innovation (ideas, opportunities, etc), in this chat we'll talk about a big roadblock to innovation: existing laws and regulations.  I recently published an article on this subject, "Three Keys To Unlock Regulatory Blocks That Slow or Stop Business Model Innovation." You can see the article on LinkedIn, or on Business Model Sandbox

Here's my premise:

The more transformative a business model is, the more likely it will be slowed or even stopped by regulatory roadblocks. Why? Remember that transformation comes from business models that use shiny new tools to combine existing and new capabilities into new customer value. These business models create new markets and/or wholly new ways to do business in existing markets. 

As a result, governments from municipal to federal often view upstarts as scofflaws. Existing businesses, especially those with aging business models locked in place by regulations, don’t understand or want the competition. 

This is not just a problem for startups. It's an even bigger risk for existing businesses that launch transformative business models, while still operating their core business model. These businesses may need to challenge regulations on one hand and defend regulations on the other. What could go wrong with that?! 

Startups present less-complicated examples, so let's see what might be learned from their successes — and their mistakes.


I describe and name three different ways startups have dealt with regulatory issues, and how successful or not these efforts were and the chances of success for businesses who try these approaches. I also describe three ways to increase the chances of "unlocking" transformative business models from regulatory blocks.

It will help the discussion immensely if you read the article!

Even though my article is about regulatory blocks to transformative business models, I'm also interested in how regulations and laws can slow or stop incremental innovation as well. I haven't researched this. 

Potential chat questions:

  1. What is your experience (good or bad) with regulations and laws that protect existing businesses and industries? Or, your observations, if you don't have direct experience.
  2. Do transformational business models and incremental innovations require different strategies to address regulatory blocks? If so, what would these be?
  3. Do you know other ways companies have succeeded in overcoming regulatory blocks to innovation (transformative or incremental)?
  4. What would you say is the value (or not) of regulations and laws that protect existing businesses and industries?
  5. Bonus question (if we have time): Should municipal and federal governments regulate or protect existing businesses and industries at all? In what ways could they support innovation?

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