In praise of slow
Mark Greiner (Senior Vice-President and leader of Steelcase’s WorkSpace Futures team) has a very interesting blog on a very neglected subject, at least in my view as I’m a big believer in workspace design and have posted often on the subject.
I was pleased to see Mark discover the book In Praise of Slow, I too loved the book and read it nice and slowly sitting in the sun on Blackpool pier a few weekends ago. One of my habits is to walk the 6 miles to Blackpool and visit the Library in the early morning, pick any book that catches my eye and read (most of it) that same day and walk home in the evening.
Mark has some wonderful quotes in his post that talk to some of the current workplace challenges associated with speed and I wanted to share a few here:
Carl suggests that with the start of the Industrial Age, the world has shifted into high gear. He calls it the ‘cult of speed’. And it’s true. Racing through traffic, twelve hour days, meeting-after-meeting, and Blackberry email into the night. When you sit back and consider your life, it’s exhausting,… and depressing. The author is not saying that every aspect of one’s life should be run at half speed. He merely is saying that for the health of our bodies and minds, we need balance. Be fast when fast is what is needed, and slow when slowness is called for.
Mark heard about the slow movement at the Poptech conference where he also heard another speaker:
reference a renowned Computer Science professor at Stanford, who years ago completely stopped using a computer for email. Asked why, this professor said, “email exists to stay on top of things,… I am much more interested in getting to the bottom of things.” I like that. Trying to always be ‘on’ can turn you into a less intelligent person, as you never take the time to ponder and reflect
As I think more on strategic issues, I too find the need to slow down a little, and its convenient that this also happens to be good for my health as I explained in this post.