The future of regulation

Principles for regulating emerging technologies

As emerging technologies drive new business and service models, governments must rapidly create, modify, and enforce regulations. The preeminent issue is how to protect citizens and ensure fair markets while letting innovation and businesses flourish.

Sweeping technological advancements are creating a sea change in today’s regulatory environment, posing significant challenges for regulators who strive to maintain a balance between fostering innovation, protecting consumers, and addressing the potential unintended consequences of disruption. Emerging technologies are creating new ways for consumers to interact—and disrupting traditional business models. In the wake of these developments, regulatory leaders are faced with a key challenge: how to best protect citizens, ensure fair markets, and enforce regulations, while allowing these new technologies and businesses to flourish.


In the current climate, regulators are often faced with the questions of when and how to regulate. In this study, we identify five principles that can both help answer these questions and set a foundation for rethinking regulation in an era of rapid technological change: 

  • Shift from “regulate and forget” to a responsive, frequentative approach. 
  • Prototype and test new approaches by creating sandboxes and accelerators.
  • Focus on results and performance rather than form. Traditionally, regulations have tended to be prescriptive and focused on inputs.
  • Shift from one-size-fits-all regulation to a data-driven, segmented approach.
  • Align regulation nationally and internationally by engaging a broader set of players across the ecosystem.


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