Red flag law – The 200 word project

When locomotives with engines were introduced in the UK, the red flag law was passed in 1865. This required cars to drive at less than 2 miles per hour and to be preceded by pedestrians waving a red flag. This was the case despite the fact that existing human operated vehicles crashed with frightening regularity. So, the new technology needed to jump across higher safety hoops than the existing technology.

The takeaway from this for ex-Google executives, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, is that there’s a constant tension between regulation and innovation. If we get attached to something that works and refuse to accept anything new that comes with risks of failure, it is only a matter of time before we move backwards.

This has lots of applications in our lives, too. The best projects come with the “this might not work” tag. And, accepting the idea will require us to consistently remind ourselves that what got us here won’t get us there. If we keep raising the bar such that we accept nothing aside from “assured” success, it will only be a matter of time before we stop trying.

At some level, “this might not work” is at the heart of all important projects, of everything new and worth doing.” – Seth Godin


Source and thanks to: How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

0 thoughts on “Red flag law – The 200 word project

  1. Legislation is a major driver of innovation. Think about the changes that have taken place in the car industry following the introduction of legislation requiring the use of unleaded fuel. And all the innovation of engines and so on since higher taxes have been levied on higher CO2 emissions. In my industry legislation was recently introduced banning certain chemicals used for water and oil repellancy which has sparked short term changes but more significantly, longer term research into entirely new solutions not necessarily based on chemistry.

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