Gauguin, Darwin, & Design Thinking: A Solution to the Impasse between Innovation & Regulation

42 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2016 Last revised: 7 Feb 2017

Date Written: December 15, 2016


We live in a time of fast-paced change and societal upheaval. Whether it’s choosing whom to vote for, documenting personal stories, finding friends and spouses, commercializing personal assets, or creating innovative products and services, traditional behaviors have given way to new opportunities and methods of accomplishing these activities. Moreover, these goals can be accomplished much more quickly than was ever possible previously. As a result, the existing structure of laws and rules that benefit society by ensuring, inter alia, public safety, competitive markets, environmental health, and access to justice for all have come under increased pressure. The clash is most visible in the public confrontations between companies in the sharing economy and the state and local governments that have been on the front lines as entire industries have been disrupted.

This essay examines the conflict between innovators and regulators, exploring the reasons behind it and analyzing the problems from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Although this chapter is intended as a thought piece, and not an exhaustive look at the issues, I do propose a possible path forward that I hope will stimulate further research and analysis, leading ultimately to a solution that all stakeholders will embrace.

Keywords: Technology, Regulation, Innovation, Sharing Economy, New Governance, Design Thinking

Suggested Citation

Armitage, Alice, Gauguin, Darwin, & Design Thinking: A Solution to the Impasse between Innovation & Regulation (December 15, 2016). UC Hastings Research Paper No. 235, Available at SSRN: or

Alice Armitage (Contact Author)

UC Law, San Francisco ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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