Skip to main content

Licenses and Certifications: Enemies of Innovation?

One of my peeves has always been government-mandated licenses and certifications. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, and interior designers all require these kinds of certifications. In my opinion, such certification requirements have the following kinds of negative effects:
  1. Stifling innovation. Getting certified typically requires immersing yourself, sometimes for years, in established ways of doing things and thus discourages people who thrive on innovation.
  2. Shortages. Certifications result in exclusive "clubs" that prosper by keeping competition low. The "clubs" typically help define the certification requirements, and the members of the club have a vested interest in making the requirements stringent.
  3. Expense. With shortages come expense. When you restrict the supply of people providing a service, the cost of the service stays artificially high.
A friend of mine who grew up in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India told me that quality medical care is much cheaper, and much more plentiful, there than in the U.S. Apparently, you can walk down a typical block in Mumbai and pass several doctor's offices. If you have strep throat, you can spontaneously pop in for a $5 or $10 visit and come out with antibiotics.

India requires certain training for doctors, but the number of years of training are significantly fewer than in the U.S.

Comments

mark said…
Who wants an innovative doctor? I DO want a doctor who's tied to results.

Don't like certification either, but think the medical affordability issues have other fundamental causes (e.g., weird malpractice payout and clubby patient insurance coverage).

If we have JD certification, why can't we maintain trial lawyer 'quality'? Oh. Right.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

What Product Managers Can Learn from the Apple iPod

The Story When Apple unveiled its iPod digital music player back in October 2001, I dismissed it as a  parity product . I already owned the Cowon iAUDIO CW100 MP3 player, loaded with my favorite tunes. There was Apple, generating great hype over the iPod as if it were a breakthrough product. The idea of a portable digital music player was nothing new. The first mass-produced MP3 players came out in 1998. In late 2001, the concept may have been new to a lot of Apple customers, but it wasn't new to me. I proudly showed my MP3 player to friends when they gushed about the iPod. Thus Apple's iPod was not an innovative product in and of itself. Years later, however, I realized the significance of ecosystem of which the iPod was a part. Apple had released iTunes (with technology purchased from  SoundJam MP ) and created the iTunes Store for finding and downloading music. Unlike Napster , it was a safe and legal way of distributing and acquiring music. The prior way of playing

Stop Validating and Start Falsifying

The product management and startup worlds are buzzing about the importance of "validation". In this entry, I'll explain how this idea originated and why it's leading organizations astray. Why Validate? In lean startup circles, you constantly hear about "validated learning" and "validating" product ideas: The assumption is that you have a great product idea and seek validation from customers before expending vast resources to build and bring it to market. Indeed, it makes sense to transcend conventional approaches to making product decisions . Intuition, sales anecdotes, feature requests from customers, backward industry thinking, and spreadsheets don't form the basis for sound product decisions. Incorporating lean startup concepts , and a more scientific approach to learning markets, is undoubtedly a sounder approach. Moreover, in larger organizations, sometimes further in the product life-cycle, everyone seems to have an opinio