In recent years, it seems that many organisations have become blindsided into maximising the speed of technological change. Being able to get technological innovations to the consumer quickly is of crucial importance, but in some cases it appears that technology is moving much faster than the rest of the organisation. Put differently, whereas once technology was seen as ‘the bottleneck’, this really doesn’t have to be the case today, and other parts of the wider organisational architecture and business context appear to be the things that are slower to adapt.
One illustration of this phenomenon is the electric scooter. Where I live, in Portsmouth (on the south coast of the UK), these things are ubiquitous. You can’t walk more than a few hundred metres down a sidewalk without one whizzing past you. The technology is very well-established now, however the legislation, regulation and (arguably) enforcement are lagging behind. You see, technically speaking, it is illegal to use privately owned electric scooters in public spaces. Or, it is probably illegal, unless they fulfil the requirements of a motor vehicle (car/motorbike), have the necessary lights and mandatory safety equipment and are insured and the relevant vehicle excise duty (‘road tax’) has been paid.
This creates a bizarre situation where it is legal to sell an electric scooter, it just isn’t legal to use one, unless you are using it on private land. To confuse things further, certain local councils (municipalities) have created bylaws allowing e-scooter rental schemes to be deemed legal. Meaning you can ride a rental scooter on the road (but not the sidewalk), but you can’t ride a privately owned scooter on the road or the sidewalk. Confused? I’m not surprised!
Why Don’t We Talk About ‘Legislative Agility’?
This illustrates a situation where the pace of change of the technology (the e-scooter), the processes to sell them and appetite for people to use them has far outpaced the speed of: