I’m excited to see the topic of geo-locating picking up attention since the first of the year. With Harvard announcing it’s relationship with Foursquare, the growth of Gowalla and local Twitter trends, the issue of “Where’s Waldo and What’s He Up To” is going mainstream. I’m looking forward to WhereCamp 2.0 and Augmented Reality Event on the docket as well.
via simpologist at Flickr
But since that topic is quite well covered these days, I thought I’d take a look at the other end of the “place/time” continuum and consider what I’ve named ChronoZones or our places in time and our time in places. At one time or another we’ve all felt rushed, that there wasn’t enough time in the day. However, as I considered how technology enables both the up and downsides of time compression, I wondered: could technology also enable time decompression, the rethinking of slow to facilitate better choices for our health, our environment and our economic viability? What if slower is the new “local” and how do they work together for good?
Consider for a moment (or more if time allows) a concept presented a week or so ago at IDEO’s Change+ event in San Francisco. At a gathering of interested parties in the fields of environmental sustainability, health viability and economic feasibility, the idea of behavior change was front and center. But those in the field of behavior change realize that getting and maintaining results has been sporadic at best. As a construct, IDEO presented what I dubbed the “Perfect Storm of Change”. Highlighting the convergence of personal experiences in the financial crisis, the health crisis and the environmental crisis, they posit that we are feeling an unprecedented need and perhaps desire, to truly change our behaviors in radical ways to achieve equilibrium. That change will necessarily require applying design thinking to our environments and experiences to support that change.
Complex as it that entire concept is, I want to explore just one facet of what I see as a fundamental shift required to facilitate success: rethinking our Chronozones. As long a “fast, quick” are the drivers, we will continue to make our financial, health and environmental decisions accordingly. We want immediate growth in our financial portfolio, a magic bullet for cholesterol and take out food in handy containers. But another answer may lie at the other end of the continuum—the slowing down side.
If I ride my bike to work, it takes longer, but I save money, don’t pollute and get healthier. If I cook at home, it takes longer than the drive-through, but I can support local farmers, cut down on paper waste and eat a better diet. It’s the economic exchange I make for my time.
In Part 2, we’ll take a look at more specifics.