Slow or fast

We think the world is better off faster mostly when we live in cities. When the train or traffic is slow, when the queue at the checkout counter is long, we have an issue.

Yet that’s actually a narrow perspective on things; it comes from that dominant, productive workforce view. In fact, maybe not even the workers’ view but that of the manager. That things have to move faster and we have to produce more.

Yet as the world progresses and the composition of our workforce and consumer class changes, there will be fundamental shifts in the way we think about speed and productivity. Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo introduced slow checkouts for lonely elderly who would prefer to chat with people probably both in line and with the cashier.

And there will be new business opportunities arising from a world that might be slowing down. For people entering middle age and confronting unhealthy lifestyles, falling sick frequently, they might soon be seeing their western medical doctors requesting they go to traditional chinese medicine (TCM) clinics to “rebalance” their health. TCM is generally seen as slow but that is unique suited to more long term issues and preventative in approach. In that sense, certain ailments lends themselves to this slow way.

Like parental controls and screen time limitations, speed limits on things, having the slow option might actually be an alternative for niche customers. And this pool of customers might be growing.