Laws, rules and why we do things the way we do

I was watching a TED talk today by Philip K. Howard entitled, Four Ways to Fix a Broken Legal System. Philip gives examples of how laws and the threat of lawsuits changes our behaviour and can kill innovation, exploration and productivity, essentially making us “paralyzed by fear.”

Philip makes a few interesting points that every business can learn from. All organizations have policies and procedures. These are the internal laws that govern your company.

Philip reminds us that every law has two sides to it:

  1. The first is telling us what we are not allowed to do. This creates a boundary indicating what lines we cannot cross.
  2. The second is making a clear boundary of what we are allowed to do.

How often have you come across a rule that says you can’t do something rather than help you figure out how to make it possible?

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