With so many disruptive models changing how we live, law makers and regulators around the world are scrambling. I don't envy the task at hand. On the one hand, humanity needs to be protected from itself but on the other regulations shouldn't stifle the advancement of technology that could make huge differences to our world.
Once such example, as this HBR article suggests, is solar power. Decades old regulation in the US is really restricting the way plug-and-play solar energy can be deployed to consumers. One can only imagine if these devices proliferate as smart phones did only five years ago, the difference it would make to having a greener planet.
So what is the root of the problem?
It can take years to get new legislation passed through government in most democratic countries. When the velocity of technological innovation is so great, it's ludicrous to think this system of legislative governance will work to respond adequately to new tech advances.
One answer could be governments adopting principles of rapid prototyping to test and iterate legislation on the edges. Could they for instance do A/B tests, or setup real simulations in virtual worlds to understand the impact of legislation. Ironically, technology is probably advanced enough to undertake such experiments, however adopting such means could mean turkeys voting for Christmas!
Outdated regulations are preventing small solar plug-and-play systems from competing in the electric market. A federal rule making plug-and-play legal nationally would wipe away hundreds of these conflicting regulations, and allow U.S. consumers to save much more on their electric bills.