Many CEOs dislike regulation, and it consistently ranks high in surveys citing tough business issues faced by chief executives. But some companies are taking a different approach to regulation by aggressively creating solutions that eventually set standards.
- Amazon recently announced the company is developing standards and laws for its facial recognition technology, Rekognition, hoping federal regulators will adopt them. What are the ethical responsibilities of companies in helping define regulations?
- What do you view as the role of government in society, especially as it relates to policies affecting businesses?
- When considering highways, rails, communication infrastructure, and other funded elements, how would you measure the value of government to businesses? How should government’s role be respected while ensuring effectiveness?
- Volvo’s three-point seat belts and Henri Breault’s childproof caps on medications are two examples of innovations leading regulations that were initially panned as cumbersome and costly but are now widely used by consumers.
- Xenith’s $79 Loops headband design results from reams of research on impact occurring when the head encounters another player’s body or the ground at high speed.
- Dispatch Goods is a supplier of stainless-steel containers with a model of reusable containers as a service. Reuse mandates have been enacted or being considered in 12 cities nationwide, including Berkley, CA and San Francisco.
Wall Street Journal’s business columnist, John D. Stoll, spent time with companies that are taking a different approach with regulations. He found that companies willing to invest in robust research and development combined with timely product rollouts can realize a significant return on regulation.
One example is Rivian Automotive, an electric pickup truck manufacturer that plans to launch its first model in 2020. The company plans to address battery technology inefficiencies, such as the inability to remove them and harness the remaining energy once they no longer work for the eclectic vehicle. This can happen after only 20% to 40% of their juice is expended.
Industry experts believe that regulators in the future will require automakers to design their batteries for second lives. With financial backing from Ford and Amazon, Rivian is already piloting its second-life batteries in a solar project in Puerto Rico, intending to seize the first-mover advantage in an increasingly competitive market.
Another company targeting regulations and opportunities is Xenith LLC, a Detroit startup that spent several years and millions of dollars developing headgear for the nontackle version of football. Flag and touch football leagues are growing in popularity due to the number of serious injuries experienced in the standard version of football.
Xenith’s solution, called the Loop, is tackle-free headgear that’s hitting the market at a time when most of the gear available was designed for soccer, water polo, boxing, or rugby, or looks like something from the early 20thcentury.
“It’s not an automatic win for this company,” Tom Cove, chief executive of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association trade group, said. “So, it takes a lot to commit the R&D and innovate and invest in a highly charged type of product in order to get out in front.”
Sources: The Wall Street Journal