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In the Moment: Opportunities to rethink, reflect, then re-do

The Slow Revolution

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"There is more to life than simply increasing its speed."
Mahatma Gandhi.

In the global sustainability crisis – this is certainly neither a surprise nor a secret – industries face increasingly challenges that are common across all sectors and reads like a list of déjà-vu: resource availability (read: scarcity); business models that are based on increase in throughput but can’t cope even with the simplistic idea that requires ‘growth of wealth’ without ‘growth of quantity’; social abuse, poverty. The list goes on.

And yet in many cases the answers to the challenges seem as simple as they seem radical. Only – who seriously takes the time to think ‘it’ all through, draw necessary conclusions and then act accordingly?

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) event ‘The Slow Revolution‘ tried to investigate this area: Would slowing down our rhythm of life actually help to speed up our effectiveness in solving these global challenges, just by giving us better, and more quality opportunity to ‘think stuff through’?

Gervais Williams, a well renowned funds manager, and author of the book ‘Slow Finance’, neatly summarised what not only applies to the financial industry, but it essence to any other: The speed by which growth is created – artificially – not only will invariably trigger severe problems, but actually prevents every one participant to see opportunities that are a) simpler b) nearer (physically as well as conceptually) c) more profitable overall d) a lot less risk prone. Taking the time of properly consider options, opportunities and consequences is a skill that has been ignored on purpose for much too long.

RSA Slow Revolution Oct 4th 2012

RSA Event 'Slow Revolution', October 4th 2012. From left to right: Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slow; Kate Fletcher,reader in sustainable fashion, London College of Fashion; Gervais Williams, award-winning fund manager and author of Slow Finance; and Deepa Patel,co-director, Slow Down London;.

The scary aspect here is that it happens consciously, because it is the simpler of 2 options. The alternative would be facing very critical and tough decisions, that do require not only a considerable amount of backbone to swim against the stream, but an air of ‘unpopularity’ that goes with it. At least initially.

While there have been repeated references to the ‘Slow Food’ movement that originated in Italy, I’m not entirely convinced that the comparison, or reference, is the most accurate possible.

Instead, I think, it was a conversation that circled around ‘quality‘ and ‘authenticity‘ in all its meanings and nuances:
-> Quality of goods, quality of sensations, quality time, quality of relationships, quality of results, quality of the process that produces a specific outcome (product, service, …).
-> Authenticity of persons, opinions, needs, actions, experiences and sensations.

The essence of the discussion can be summarised, again, in 2 quotes:

'Renounce and Enjoy.'
Mahatma Gandhi.

… and …

'There is the urgent, and the important' [The rest doesn't matter.]
Doug Richard

Note: This page will be updated shortly, and as soon as the Podcast of this event becomes available for readers to listen to it themselves.

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