Ian Caplin: Kia ora and welcome to the programme. You’re watching G-Reg, the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative. I’m Ian Caplin. And this is the 2020 G-Reg Conference, this is the sixth annual conference. But this one has a difference.
It’s being broadcast over a series of 10 webinars, live and recorded, over October and November. Wherever, and whenever you are, you’re very welcome here.
Just a couple of housekeeping points. The theme this year is going to be the modern regulator and part of that is going to be modern engagement across the webinar format, it’s going to be an interactive set of webinars, where you get the chance to participate, to ask questions, to make comments, but I would ask at this stage, not quite yet.
There will be a stage where once our panellists and presenters across the series in each webinar have had a chance to say their thing, then you get to say your bit as well in the Q and A format, which you’ll find that you can access at the bottom of the screen.
For those of you who are new to G-Reg, G-Reg is the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative and we believe that it’s the first professional user network for those who exercise the powers of the state – coercive, facilitative, anything “ive” if they’re involved in the business of regulation and the business of government.
And G-Reg itself is based here in New Zealand, but not all our viewers this year are. We’re very pleased to welcome a real international base of those who are also connected with us in the business of regulation. More on that later.
What I would say, though, is that all of these webinars while aimed primarily at regulatory front liners and those who work closely with them, will also be available both in this live format and the recorded format, in the public domain. So I remind myself and I remind all of us too that our questions and comments are modified with that in mind.
So a little bit about the theme. The modern regulator. What does the modern regulator mean? Well, we’re going to be examining that over a series, as I’ve said, of 10 webinars and we think that there’ll be things to take away for all of us as we go back to our day to day business.
Really to set the scene and to tell us what we have in store, and also, in a sense, to declare these games open, I’m very pleased to welcome now the director of G-Reg, to tell us more, Kathryn MacIver – Kathryn, thanks very much for joining us.
Kathryn MacIver: Thanks Ian and Kia-ora, everyone.
Ian Caplin: A warm welcome to you, let’s just open with the theme. The modern regulator – contradiction in terms?.
Kathryn MacIver: No, not at all. I think historically regulation and, by extension, regulators, were often regarded as a threat to innovation and perhaps a constraint on economic growth. However, today I think we see a modern regulator is a facilitator of growth and can model innovation through the way it operates.
I think modern regulators have a range of characteristics, including being risk-based, collaborative, flexible and they understand the impact of the unique role and the regulatory system.
I think in this year’s webinar series we will see an informative discussion on all of those characteristics and others.
Ian Caplin: And it’s an informative discussion across a very new format this year, isn’t it.
Kathryn MacIver: Oh yes, we’ve heard it said often Ian, that this year has been like no other. I think with the recent constraints on gatherings, we had to rethink our format.
But we’re quite excited about this because taking this as a series of webinars has allowed us to take G-Reg to people all over the globe.
However, the webinars themselves will be quite familiar to those who have been to G-Reg conferences in the past, being a mix of presentations and panel discussions and having the opportunity to put questions to our speakers.
Ian Caplin: We mentioned the globe, and we mentioned those in it, watching, not just in New Zealand. It’s a broad church of viewers we’ve got this year isn’t it, Kathryn.
Kathryn MacIver: Yes indeed, primarily these webinars will appeal to regulatory practitioners, but there’s content here for people in any role, I think, that intersects with regulation.
I do want to say a particular welcome to some of our international colleagues, particularly to our colleagues throughout the ANZSOG network and those joining us from the Government of the Philippines. And to all our guests, both international and here in New Zealand, Kia-ora and welcome to G-Reg.
Ian Caplin: A very warm welcome to them all indeed. And finally, Kathryn, what would your single takeaway recommendation be for those who have been to or will have been to these webinars. What should they be taking away?
Kathryn MacIver: Well, I’d like to challenge our audience to think about whether their regulatory function has the characteristics of a modern regulator and I’m hoping that everyone in the audience will pick up either new or different ideas and concepts to be able to test and try in their own organizations.
Ian Caplin: Kathryn MacIver, thank you very much indeed.
So we’ve got a viewership all over the world. We’ve got live and recorded webinars coming out. That means that although the base time is 11 O’clock New Zealand Standard Time and the theme in the conference material adverts has been elevenses, a cup of tea and a slice of cake or delete and insert as appropriate, it may well be that you’re watching the recorded version, or you’re watching the live version at another time. But wherever and whenever you are, as Kathryn says, and from me too, you’re very welcome here.
The theme is the modern regulator and it’s very much a composite recipe for regulators that has all sorts of fascinating ingredients.
One of which is – and it’s a bit of a mouthful – is regulatory entrepreneurialism and that will be a strand that we develop in a moment, and also across the conference series. The other is regulatory
infrastructure, or really the idea that regulation is soft infrastructure.
What on earth do I mean? Well, infrastructure means roads, but it also means other ways of getting from A to B, that are less tangible. Other ways of getting from A to B that support the economy. As a very wise regulator – and a very wise senior regulator – once said “regulation is the soft infrastructure that really maintains the economy.”
Not just in particularly exacerbating times which we’re in, for obvious reasons, but also, as it were, in peacetime, it’s very much going to be part of the case of this conference that a seasoning of soft infrastructure and more than a mere sprinkling of regulatory entrepreneurialism is going to be what the doctor has ordered.
We’re going to turn to regulatory entrepreneurialism in a moment. What does that mean? Savvy, effectively, but what is a regulatory entrepreneur? We’ve got a highly qualified guest to help us look at the entrepreneur’s CV, in the world of regulation. That’s because he’s the Chair in Regulatory Practice at Victoria University of Wellington. He’s very much a friend of G-Reg and very much also, when it comes to international academic writing on regulation, a real name in the game. I’m delighted to welcome Professor Jeroen van der Heijden. Professor, over to you.
Jeroen van der Heijden : Thank you, Ian. Kia ora. And thank you for joining this first session of the G-Reg conference.
The G-Reg community has asked me to tell you all about what it means to be a modern and entrepreneurial regulator over the next half hour or so. And, of course, that is not an easy task, but I have very happily accepted it.
I will talk mostly about the second half of that question – the entrepreneurial part, but it makes sense to ask ourselves the question : is being a modern regulator a requirement for being an entrepreneurial regulator?
Around the world, we have witnessed a suite of regulatory reform, since the 1980s. Many of our old ideas about regulation have shifted very rapidly. We have seen deregulation being replaced by reregulation.
We have seen a tendency towards less intrusive regulatory tools being replaced by a tendency towards more behavioural insights informed regulatory tools.
We have seen performance based regulation being replaced by risk based regulation and finally regulators are these days not longer warned to be afraid of being captured by vested interest, but rather they are warned for not listening enough to their stakeholders. So a lot of changes.
And being a modern regulator is often seen as knowing how to allocate your limited regulatory resources well, and how to reduce social, political and reputational risk, but with great prudence.
Being a modern regulator is seen as knowing when to speak softly to achieve compliance and to guide rather than to rule.
Being a modern regulator is seen as understanding the possible perils of disruptive technology, but at the same time not be so precautionary that you will disrupt that technologies’ process.
Being a modern regulator is seen as being transparent, accountable, inclusive, collaborative and to keep on talking and deliberating with your regulatory targets and stakeholders.
Now, on top of that, and I quote former President Barack Obama here because it sums up the rhetoric of the last ten years very well: a modern regulator is expected – and here begins the quote –
“to identify and use the best, most innovative and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends.“
So, that is exactly where we have our bridge between the modern and the entrepreneurial regulator. The modern regulator makes use of the latest insights, but the goalposts of what it means to be a modern regulator keep shifting because of what you could call the discovery of even better, even more innovative, and even less burdensome regulatory tools, strategies and systems.
Now, who is making those discoveries? Well, this is where the entrepreneurial regulator or, if you wish, regulatory entrepreneurs come in.
The idea of an entrepreneurial regulator obviously brings together two concepts, on the one hand, that of entrepreneurialism and, on the other hand, that of regulation. So, let us have a quick look at both independently before we bring them together again.
So let’s answer the question; what is entrepreneurialism all about? Well, if you look at dictionaries, you will find various definitions: for instance the Merriam Webster Dictionary –
The definition for entrepreneurialism is having to do with the creation and development of economic ventures and the Cambridge Dictionary definition for entrepreneurialism is the ability to start new businesses, especially when this involves seeing new opportunities to make money.
But both dictionaries are very quick to explain that in its day to day use, the term entrepreneurialism carries a much broader connotation of farsightedness and innovation. So we can say that people who see change in the long term, have an entrepreneurial spirit.
So in summary, the term ‘entrepreneurialism’ describes the mechanisms of taking a risk now to perhaps get some return in the future as well as the virtue of having the visionary creativity.
So that’s the entrepreneurial part. But then of course there is also the regulator part in the term entrepreneurial regulation or entrepreneurial regulator.
Now, we do not have to look at dictionaries to realize that the concept and the term regulation can be defined in a wide variety of manners.
But there is a broad consensus across the literature that regulation seeks to influence the behaviour of individuals and collectives to make social interaction and transactions more predictable and reduce uncertainties by setting expectations and codifying consequences of meeting or not meeting those expectations.
I’ll keep in mind influencing behaviour here means anything from affecting the types of products and services that people and firms produce, sell and use, as well as affecting how they use such products and services and how they interact with each other.
So if you bring the broad definition of entrepreneurialism together with our broad understanding of what regulation is, we roughly get to what it means to be an entrepreneurial regulator.
So in my vision, an entrepreneurial regulator is a regulator that has the vision to change regulatory interventions processes and systems that it uses to achieve behavioural change in individuals and collectives, and is willing to take a risk and implement that vision, but also acknowledges that nothing may come from doing so.
So an entrepreneurial regulator can be an individual within an agency, but it could also be a regulatory agency as a whole, or even the community of regulatory agents.
But then we should ask ourselves the question, is anyone with a vision and the desire to implement it an entrepreneurial regulator? Now, of course, that is not really the case, it takes a little more than just having vision and willingness. So, let us have a look at what academia has to say about this.
The phenomenon of the entrepreneurial regulator has not yet really landed in the academic literature yet but a related phenomenon has – the policy entrepreneur.
And scholars of public policy and public administration have for very long been interested in those individuals within the public bureaucracy, who seek to change how things are done, even when this is not their mandated or allocated task.
And we are very interested to understand why would specific bureaucrats, or people in the public bureaucracy do this.
Because people who work in the public sector are typically not considered to have an entrepreneurial spirit by society at large. So indeed is the idea or being a policy entrepreneur or an entrepreneurial regulator, not an oxymoron in itself?
More importantly, I think, than asking those kinds of questions is that scholars are interested in the question why some individuals and groups within the public bureaucracy seek such change.
And how successful some of those people and collectives are. Because if we get a better understanding of the conditions that are related to the success of policy entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial regulators, we can of course help others to be more successful too.
The idea of the policy entrepreneur itself was popularized already in the 1980s by an American professor named John Kingdon and in his work, Kingdon explains that policy entrepreneurs can be in or outside of government, in elected or appointed positions, in interest groups or in research organizations, and, in defining characteristics, Professor Kingdon argues, is much as in the case of a business entrepreneur, their willingness to invest their resources, time, energy, reputation and sometimes money in the hope of a future return.
The early work of John Kingdon has kickstarted a whole body of research in what explained the success of policy entrepreneurs. So you could say that Kingdom himself was some sort of an entrepreneurial academic.
Now let’s fast forward four decades since his ground-breaking work and see what we have learned from the research on policy entrepreneurs and particularly look at lessons that are equally applicable to the entrepreneurial regulator.
It goes without saying that I will not be able to talk you through 40 years of research on policy entrepreneurs in great detail in the remaining time of this webinar so I will touch on what I think are the most important insights in what follows – also, because I’m very keen to link the insight from that literature to what I feel is required to be successful regulatory entrepreneur. And I’m also very keen to discuss your thoughts in the second half of our webinar today.
Luckily for me, my international colleagues have done a fantastic job in summing up the available research on policy entrepreneurs, and over 40 years of research on policy entrepreneurs has indicated that successful policy entrepreneurialism is an interplay of a range of factors.
These include specific attributes, skills and strategies. Now keep in mind, many of them are necessary, but none of those is sufficient by itself. So I will share with you a brief summary of what they have found.
I will give you a few moments to have a look at a broad overview that was developed by a group of scholars interested in policy entrepreneurialism.
Now, please don’t try to read every line in this model, it is more relevant, I think, to get a broad picture of the types of attributes, the types of skills and the types of strategies that scholars have identified as necessary for successful policy entrepreneurialism.
And it’s equally important, I think, to have some feeling of how scholars argue and think that these attributes, skills and strategies compliment and reinforce each other in a successful policy entrepreneur. Take some moments to have a look at this model.
OK. Back to me again. Let us begin with a closer exploration of those attributes. The attributes of a successful policy entrepreneur: are qualities and characteristics; such as ambition,
credibility, sociability, the ability and inclination to perceive the psychological state of others and determination. Some terms were used differently in the model, but that’s a brief explanation of it. These attributes are present to more or less extent in most people.
But people may not always find themselves able to use these attributes.
And here it is up to the regulatory environment which could be an agency or a community, such as the G-Reg community, to nurture those attributes in individuals in people working in the regulatory sector.
Now there are many ways to nurture such attributes in individuals and even in groups, for example, regulatory agencies may wish to institutionalize processes that challenge their staff to share what they perceive as visions for better regulatory governance and practice.
For example, last year, I was invited by Worksafe, which is a regulatory agency here in New Zealand, to join a session of the cross functional team that was designing a set of operational products for Worksafe’s operations team. So people who go out in the field and enforce regulation in practice.
That design team was deliberately hosted outside of Worksafe’s central office, and no doubt that gave them some distance from the day to day challenges of Worksafe’s main regulatory office and it also allowed them to think out of the box, somewhat.
But perhaps the more interesting thing was that this specific working group work with a systematic and very fast paced approach to developing and testing novel forms of regulatory interventions and alternatives to traditional interventions.
They specifically used agile scrum methodology which I’m not going to dwell on or too much. More importantly is that the structure they were provided with gave them much credibility for the ideas and solutions that they came up with, whereas at the same time being brought together and housed outside of Worksafe for some time, allowed these groups to nurture their social and other qualities. Now, unfortunately, due to the current Covid situation that specific process has been put on hold, but it is a really interesting example of thinking about how a regulator can nurture some of those attributes in its staff.
Let’s jump on to the skills. So where attributes require a combination of qualities and characteristics that can be nurtured, skills are more about the expertise and competence of individuals and even groups.
Skills can be learned. For example, how to think strategically and systematically is a skill that can be trained. How to build a team is a skill that can be trained – likewise aspects such as data collection, analysis, making sound arguments, presenting findings and negotiation and networking are all skills that can be learned and trained.
Yes, it means some time to master the skills, but they are not impossible to achieve. For example, the G-Reg initiative is an exemplary illustration of how skills can be strengthened.
Within G-Reg, this is mainly done through the qualifications framework and continuing education workshops that it is providing. Now, for those of you who are not aware of G-Reg’s training and learning programs;
I would strongly suggest you to have a look at their website and take inspiration from it.
The strength of that set of learning programs provided by this community of practice, I feel, is that it provides across the whole of New Zealand regulators the same type of trainers training. It is available to everybody working in the New Zealand regulatory context.
That I feel will ultimately cement base level skills throughout the sector and it allows those who are interested to learn more and improve their skills even further to actually do so.
And that leaves us finally with the strategies in that model that I just showed you. Now the strategies discussed in the broader literature on policy entrepreneurialism are basically about the required processes of being a successful policy entrepreneur.
The strategies include how to frame a policy problem well, or how to work with stakeholders and beneficiaries or, for example, how can I lead by example.
And those strategies translate particularly well to a regulatory context, for example, to reduce tax fraud by households in the Netherlands, the responsible regulator has for very long shied away from harsh and highly visible prosecutions of non compliant households, rather for close to 25 years, the Dutch tax regulator has used a specific slogan “Tax – We can make it more fun, but we can make it easier.”
This is a typical example of strategic thinking about how to frame and perhaps reframe a policy or regulatory problem. In the early 1990s that Dutch tax agency realized that much non compliance by households was not so much the results of a moral calculation on the sides of households, but often simply related to the complexities of filling out tax forms.
So the ultimate regulatory problem, non compliance with tax regulation by households, was actually caused by another problem; that of people not fully understanding how to comply. Now that specific insight helped the Dutch tax agency to think differently about how to improve compliance.
And it used that insight, not only to strengthen its regulatory interventions, but also as a very, very successful branding campaign. Now let’s leave it with the academic literature for now.
What I hope is that prospective regulatory entrepreneurs agree with me that we can learn a lot from studies of policy entrepreneurs and apply its lessons to entrepreneurial regulation. For those who are interested in reading more on this, I can strongly recommend reading the very accessible article by Michael Mintrom from which I have borrowed that figure that I just showed you before.
But where should we go from here? We as a regulatory community. What broader lessons emerged from this literature that are helpful for regulatory entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial regulation. Now let me touch on three lessons that I think are key, in the time that remains;
The first lesson is that being a successful regulatory entrepreneur and successfully engaging entrepreneurial regulation asks for much more than having a bright idea and a desire to change the world.
To see that idea coming to fruition, a rich mix of qualities and characteristics, those attributes, skills and strategies are required.
Many of those are necessary, but none of those will be sufficient by itself. And I think that is an essential lesson for individuals who see themselves as regulatory entrepreneurs.
In a nutshell, no individual will have all the attributes, master all the skills and know all the strategies required for successful entrepreneurial regulation.
Being successful in this area requires working with others, sharing ideas, and eventually very often means finding middle ground.
After all, few entrepreneurs have changed the world in the past all by themselves. Now, of course, the flip side is it also means that you as a regulatory entrepreneur are not alone in this.
Even though it may often feel as if you are when you do not see others jumping on the bandwagon of your bright idea. But keep in mind, we have ideas that might help you to spread those ideas in a better way.
That immediately gets me to the second lesson that I think comes out of the policy entrepreneurial literature and this lesson applies both to individuals, as well as to regulatory agencies.
When we think of entrepreneurs, our minds drift to people like Steve Jobs from Apple, Cher Wang from HTC smartphones or even Elon Musk from Tesla.
All these entrepreneurs had a vision and followed it. The same holds for entrepreneurial companies such as 3M, IBM and the ever growing list of internet ventures. Yet being an entrepreneur in the public sector is different from being an entrepreneur in the private sector.
The private sector entrepreneur often has a grand vision about some sort of “private good”;
bringing people better computers, bringing people better smartphones, bringing people better vehicles.
But in the public sector, our grand vision is about improving the public good and there is a difference. And there is also the catch.
Because there is no individual or no individual organization that precisely knows what the public good is, your ideas about the public good and how to improve it are coloured by your experiences, your biases and your preferences and those will be different from others who also want to change the public good.
And that reinforces my earlier point that successful regulatory entrepreneurs will likely have to collaborate with others, but so do regulatory agencies.
Agencies will have to engage with their beneficiaries with their targets with their stakeholders with their staff and even with other regulatory agencies, if they want to be successful in their regulatory entrepreneurialism.
So not surprisingly, that brings me to the final lesson which is targeted mainly at regulatory agencies.
Being a successful regulator asked for providing your staff with an environment that nurtures their attributes and strengthens their skills. These tasks are sometimes for giving your team enough freedom, and trust them to operate within that freedom as well as providing them with sufficient resources to hone their skills.
But doing so needs to be done with the full understanding and acknowledgement that it may not result in any outcome at all. After all,
that is essentially what the entrepreneurial spirit is about. It’s an opportunity, you’ll respond to it, and to a certain extent, unfortunately, you have to hope for the best.
It is a form of risk taking. Now, to reduce that risk somewhat, regulatory agencies may wish to diversify their investments; ideally such diversification is done by running different entrepreneurial programs in parallel.
But if that is not an option, at least make sure that there is real diversity within those programs. There is little point to bring together a group of people who, in one way or the other, look diversified from the outside, but actually all think the same.
What you need in those programs is a mix of like-minded and different minded people. Now let me conclude; what binds entrepreneurial regulators together? Well, they will all start off their trajectory with a desire to make the world a better place.
Sometimes they will succeed and sometimes they will not. It is, however, essential to acknowledge and accept at the start of an entrepreneurial trajectory that no outcome or even an undesirable outcome may be the result.
What binds entrepreneurial regulators together also is that they are not necessarily modern regulators. Very traditional regulators, such as the Dutch tax agency in the early 1990s, can be successful entrepreneurs.
So being a modern regulator is not necessarily a prerequisite for being an entrepreneurial regulator. Finally, I think that not all regulators need to be entrepreneurs or at the very least not all regulators need to be entrepreneurs all of the time.
It is often good enough to keep an eye out and see what others are doing, what works for them and what you may take from their innovations to apply in your own context.
After all, contrary to private sector entrepreneurs, policy sector entrepreneurs are not in the game for personal gain. They don’t patent their innovation, or subject it to copyright. Their creations are in the public domain and available for all to use.
Now in the G-Reg 2020 conference webinars that will follow, some of our most entrepreneurial regulators will give you a glimpse behind the scenes of their innovations. I hope that those will help and inspire you to become an even more modern regulator yourself.
With that I round up. Thank you very much for attending this session. And let’s open it up for discussion and debate. For those of you who wish to slowly go through this lecture again I will post a transcript of this lecture on a website: www.regulatoryfrontlines.blog but there will also be a transcript on the G-Reg website as well. Thanks again. And back to you, Ian.
Ian Caplin: Thank you very much Jeroen and I think certainly it’s part of the case of this conference we’ve established in the story so far at least, if nothing else, as a matter of linguistics, that the phrases modern regulator and regulatory entrepreneurialism are not a bunch of oxymorons.
We need both of those in our day to day work. This is where, members of the audience, you get to play a little more, please feel free now, feel completely unrestrained, to put those questions in the Q and A box that I referred you to earlier.
What’s more, I think our wonderful producer Felix is going to gamify matters so that once we have a bank of questions, you’re able to give a thumbs up, so that we can rank them. Now if that gives me too much of a headache, you’ll see the visible effects of that and Felix will be merciful to me and switch it off and we’ll look at what we’ve got.
I can see them coming up already. But I just have got a couple for you, [Jeroen] and one of the things that I think I took from your piece and it’s always the case with a good presentation that everyone has a favourite bit is, is the accessibility of the ability to be an entrepreneur. I mean, you know, I have these images of sort of people running around in black roll neck sweaters saying ‘lunch is for wimps’ being very inaccessible type of people, but it is the everyday, isn’t it, we can all be one.
Jeroen van der Heijden Absolutely, absolutely. Look, at the end of the day, most of the innovations that we are using today are the result of day to day practice by people working in the regulatory community and sharing those ideas with others. So, many of the big ideas and concepts and theories that the scholarly, that the academic community works with around how to be a good regulator, actually comes from the field itself. So I think personally that there is a regulatory entrepreneur in everybody. We just need to provide a context for these people to share their ideas and bring them out.
Ian Caplin: And I guess the other point which you pointed to was the cultural backing. It’s the freedom to do it right, but freedom to do it, perhaps less right. Things don’t always work out. The cultural settings and I think linked to that is what we’re dealing with later on in the series – wellbeing – and the framework of the organization. What –briefly- what do you say to that?
Jeroen van der Heijden: Absolutely and that’s completely right. I think that we need to. Two things that I hope you took out from this lecture. One is: if you want to be a regulatory entrepreneur, it means taking risk and means taking risks that sometimes things don’t work out in the way that you want. If you don’t want to accept that simple fact, you probably shouldn’t have tried to be an entrepreneur.
But on the other side. Yes, a regulatory community can help creating a culture for people to share their ideas. Have sessions within your agency in which we discuss problems, have sessions in your agency in which you bring out best practice examples from what happens.
But also make sure in those sessions that people communicate and begin working together because I hope that is another lesson that comes out of this lecture – you cannot be an entrepreneur all by yourself. It asks you to work together with others, come out of your office or come out of your cocoon and share your ideas and expose it to the outside world.
Ian Caplin: Now, some of us here will have a cocoon problem. I’m seeing a hit parade of questions. The top one is, how do you get around the sensitivity of some organizations to share information? It’s a difficulty, isn’t it, Jeroen?
Jeroen van der Heijden : It’s absolutely a difficulty. Look, I think that in this thinking about being a regulatory entrepreneur, logically, there will be things that you can share with the public outside and there will be things that you cannot share with the public outside and most likely regulatory agencies may feel less comfortable with sharing things that are not going so well, with the outside world.
But it doesn’t mean that you cannot share it internally and that you can have a mechanism internally to make at least staff feel comfortable to share things that don’t work that well for them with each other, with the larger management, and then be entrepreneurial, and think about how can we
as a community inside solve this problem.
Once you have the answer for it, you bring it outside to the world and show how well you have solved the problem.
Ian Caplin: And once you you’ve done it – rather before you do it – the question is raging in front of us at the moment is one I see in the list : what are some practical ways to collaborate on complex regulatory developments at speed?
Jeroen van der Heijden : Well, that’s a very, very good one. So again, going back to that Worksafe example that I very briefly touched on. What Worksafe did was it brought together a group of people from within the agency who all have different roles, who actually targeted together in a very short amount of time a regulatory problem around non compliance and they use this agile scrum methodology for it, which basically means that that group had to present a stepwise approach to come to a final solution every second week. So there was a high speed, they were accountable for coming up with these solutions, presenting it back to the agency, taking on board comments and suggestions and work forward.
And I think that was a really interesting and a really nice way of an agency to bring different minded people together to all work on a problem that they all cared about. And by putting them in that pressure cooker outside of the agency, most people also felt responsible to actually come up with that really good solution.
And they felt comfortable because they were given the credibility by the large agency to do it. So that was a very ideal sort of situation in how you could do that.
Ian Caplin: Thank you for that, Jeroen. I’m going to use the time we’ve got left to fuse the two next popular questions at speed. They seem to point to the same kind of area. Have you considered how regulatory entrepreneurs could actually feasibly operate within an environment without policy change and also being mindful of legal prior restraints, it’s, it’s almost, it could be said, importing a private competitive market model into the public arena where perhaps it doesn’t belong.
Jeroen van der Heijden: That is a fantastic question and a very difficult one. For the first half of that question, I think, yes, absolutely. You can be a regulatory entrepreneur, even if the larger policies are not likely to change. There are so many different ways in which you can deliver regulatory outcomes. There are so many different ways in which you can engage with your stakeholders. There are so many different strategies and tools that you can apply to get compliance, even if the policy program itself doesn’t change. So within a rigid policy, you can still be a very flexible regulator by being entrepreneurial.
And within legal constraints that is a very sort of context specific question. And I think people who ask that question are most likely very aware themselves, where they would push the boundaries of becoming, of, ending in, problematic situation. Let’s leave it to that for now.
Ian Caplin: Thank you Jeroen, and that is a place where, sadly perhaps, we must end it. Thank you once again Jeroen for an excellent presentation and thought provoking stuff.
Regulatory front lines blog is where Jeroen’s material can be found, and also please do look at the G-Reg website itself, for more information, generally, and Jeroen’s work as the Chair in Regulatory Practice. I would also commend the site to you if you’re a practitioner that would like to become a G-Reg assessor and more of that on the website : www.g-reg.govt.nz.
In terms of being able to assess and moderate the work for those who are undergoing our G-Reg qualifications, more again on that on the website, please do take a look at it, and also a plethora of other items of material. In the closing seconds we have left, members of the audience, I do invite you, please, to contribute to the poll, which is just coming out now, which is effectively a little mini census, to see how you found us.
This will go out again in approximately a week, recorded on the website. Next up, we’re looking at same time, same channel, 11 O’clock New Zealand Standard Time, next Tuesday. But thank you very much for joining us, members of the audience and until next time, from all of us here, Ka Kite Ano and stay well. Thank you.