Publication Growth and productivity Machinery of government 15 February, 2024

Thinking outside the sandbox: how regulatory relief and learning can promote innovation

Read the full report  

This is a Reform Scholar publication by Dr Bryan Cheang.

Innovation is an essential driver for economic growth. This paper makes the case for a radical approach for creating the conditions for both, one that differs markedly from state-centric approaches such as Mazzucato's 'entrepreneurial state'.

Dr Cheang proposes that the UK should become one of the handful of countries worldwide to introduce a 'general purpose sandbox'. This is an approach where companies can apply to operate without the regulations that might otherwise impede their innovations or prevent their entry to the market.

By learning from the way that organisations operate within such a sandbox, valuable lessons for wider regulatory reform can be learned, with benefits for the wider economy.

This paper estimates the potential economic benefits of such an approach, and sets out a series of recommendations, informed by experience in other countries, to help realise the benefits of intelligent regulatory relief.