Innovation Fatigue from Excessive Regulation: Ford’s CEO Speaks Out

Icon for Regulatory Fatigue Factors
Icon for Regulatory Fatigue Factors
One of the top nine “innovation fatigue factors” that we address in the book involves the challenges that stem from governmental policies and regulations. Chapter 14 explores this in detail, and urges government leaders and policy makers to listen to the “voice of the innovator” before they pass new laws or add new burdens that may have unintended consequences on innovation.

Our arguments have been buttressed by the CEO of Ford, who recently made a bold statement on innovation and regulation, as reported by the Associated Press:

Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said government regulation in many ways has hurt innovation among businesses and manufacturers in the United States.

“We’ve become so stymied with regulation,” said Mulally Wednesday during a panel discussion on innovation in manufacturing at The National Summit in Detroit. “We have to say enough is enough and get back to freeing people up.”

One hears this a lot from small business owners–it’s refreshing to find a CEO of a large company willing to hint that there might be problems. “Freeing people up” to innovate and to grow their business makes a lot of sense in many areas, where one can argue that innovation is hindered by excessive or overly burdensome regulations or taxation policies. Getting the balance right is tough work, we admit, but somewhere in the process, we hope that policy makers will go the extra mile to consider the potential impact on innovation, and not just from the perspective of a few Fortune 100 CEOs, but also from the perspectives of the innovators and entrepreneurs themselves who create the technologies and business models that drive so much of the economy.

Innovation is a plant that, once wilted, can be difficult to revive. The culture of innovation needs to be nourished carefully and kept vibrant for an economy to thrive.

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