BSI Flex – a new, flexible approach to standardization

Standards are usually seen as being all about stable consensus, however standards already play a crucial role in supporting the adoption of innovative products and services.


The main challenge comes in tying together the rapid progression of innovation with good practice, this would need a combination of flexibility, speed, and rigour. In the constantly changing modern economy, this is the type of challenge that must be addressed more frequently.


To achieve flexibility and rigour together there needs to be a dynamic approach to developing and sharing good practice. There is a vital role for more formal standards to collaborate in thinking with a larger range of stakeholders, to ensure that dynamic good practice represents a broader consensus while reflecting the interests of the consumers, industry, and society.


BSI Flex has been developed to address these challenges, by capturing good practice through a series of iterations. The scope and change of each iteration will be market driven and each new version will be open for consultation and review by anyone.


Benefits of BSI Flex:


- Supports continuous innovation - from individual products and services through to digital disruption of entire industries

- Strengthens testbeds and trialling – a two-way flow of thinking from the standard into each pilot and vice versa

- Acts as an up-to-date reference point for the market – providing the latest accepted view of good practice

- Provides greater resilience to market shocks – with good practice that adapts in line with the “new normal”


This new approach will be best suited to emerging areas where there is a low level of certainty about “what good looks like”, as there will be an expectation that this will need to continuously evolve. This could include practices that are being re-invented or new innovations, which is particularly important for fast-moving industries.


In the digital economy, dynamic good practice is needed from AI and analytics through to the internet of things (IoT) devices and 5G infrastructure. This isn’t just about the core technologies themselves, but also how they interoperate, how they are governed, ethics, privacy, security and beyond.


BSI is already starting to apply a flexible and dynamic approach in some of these sectors, including in the built environment and in transport. There has been a rapid development and iteration of guidelines for safe working in offices and other settings in response to the COVID-19, this is a good example of a flexible and dynamic approach. The guidelines provide a framework to enable ongoing continual improvement and ensure that organizations respond to changes as the business community learns more about safe working and government requirements evolve.


To learn more about BSI Flex please visit the BSI Flex page

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