“We all have to play within the rules.” As I heard those words, I immediately pushed the pause button. Who said them? Robert Herjavec, CEO of Herjavec Group and famous as one of the sharks on Shark Tank. He was being asked on CNBC about the future of startups focusing on data. His response affirmed one of the key design attributes of the Trust Prism, the signature innovation in my book.
The Trust Prism is a visual, 3-D representation of an information system. It enables us to visualize and calculate how trustworthy a system is in its design and operation. The Trust Prism is scalable to large systems, and adaptive to any type of system. But, in every case, a system’s representation by a Trust Prism requires a foundation—and that foundation is composed of the rules.
Herjavec is absolutely correct. For commerce and markets to function, notably global commerce and markets, the participants must both author and adopt the rules, and be willing to play within the boundaries those rules prescribe.
When we visually present those rules as the foundation for a system, functions and features of a system that do not conform to those boundaries can literally and visually fall off the foundation. They do not fit “within the rules.”
But many start ups begin with the ethos they need to break the rules, create a new playing field, and win the market within the new boundaries. So Herjavec seems to be in contradiction to that mantra. Is there a way both views can be accommodated?
The key, I believe, as explored in Achieving Digital Trust, is to visualize what the existing rules are, and also see where there are no rules. The illustration here shows those as voids–empty spaces within the Prism. When we are asked to adopt and use something new, we want to play within the known rules, and where there are no rules, we are slow to embrace the new thing until the rules are explained. Just think about any new app or device you have recently purchased. Your adoption is slower until you know the rules.
So innovation finds its sweet spot when the new produce is bundled with the rules that allow everyone to come onto the new field of play faster and begin to participate in the something new. But innovation without rules, or innovation that conflicts with existing rules, invite slower adoption and make it harder to realize the ROIs that create new wealth from innovation.
Here is the link to the Herjavec video. What do you think? Does entrepreneurship accelerate when a start up plays within the rules? Are they more successful playing outside the rules and waiting for the rules to adapt? What is the best venue in which rules that enable innovation can be authored?