Age of Disruption

The fourth industrial revolution is defined as the convergence of the physical, digital, and biological worlds with the potential to drive economic growth, enhance environmental performance, and improve social outcomes.

Technological advancements have been transforming almost every aspect of the world in nearly every corner of the globe. This fundamental shift in business operations and engagement has been called "Disruption," and no – it's not meant in the negative sense.

Innovation is driving change at an incredible rate; in the Age of Disruption, industries are completely rethinking the way they operate. As regulators, we too must adapt and embrace the same spirit of innovation and transformation. The incumbent models of regulation which have governed economic activities and social behaviours over the course of the last century have enjoyed a relatively undisrupted stretch of noteworthy successes and stability, which has rarely been challenged.

As the world enters a period of unprecedented technological, economic, and social change, the global regulatory community is beginning to raise a pressing, existential question: How must regulatory systems evolve to govern a world that looks radically different from the one we know today?

What worked back then doesn’t work now. Success in the Age of Disruption will be awarded to those nations who resolve the sustainability puzzle – achieving a just, prosperous, and sustainable society that maximizes the welfare of its people. Regulators, by virtue of residing at the nexus of civil society, business, and government, can play a role in shaping its evolution.

Credibility and stability have always been the regulators’ most important attributes, and in the Age of Disruption, their importance is ten-fold.

Global investors are finding themselves under pressure to ensure the investments they make are socially, economically, and environmentally responsible. Governments, too, are under pressure to ensure investments made in their country yield both economic and social prosperity. Both parties rely on regulators to ensure standards are set and upheld to protect their capital and reputational investments. On the same token, regulators must show their stakeholders that they are a strong force for social good – that they can reliably manage risks, uphold standards, and be effective at their jobs.

The most critical step in attracting investment is ensuring a credible, flexible, modern, and streamlined regulatory environment, consistent with the values of the Age of Disruption. Trying to apply old regulatory frameworks and processes to industries in the midst of revolution are achieving limited success.

Regulatory success in the Age of Disruption depends on a willingness to be open to new approaches, new ideas, and a new way of doing things.