We live in a world where innovation equates with speed and efficiency. iPhones, Fast food and ever higher workplace productivity are what count.
No matter how distracted and even more rushed our lives become as a result of breakneck innovation we still crave the next big thing. We love the convenience of cell phones but hate that we can't seem to ever turn them off.
For some inexplicable reason we in the Western world have limited our imaginations to a world in which life can never slow down. Slow is a luxury reserved for old people and Buddhist monks. We think driving toward quality living and fulfillment must happen on the expressway instead of the back roads.
In this trade off lies a tremendous and overlooked opportunity for innovators and entrepreneurs. The opportunity is to imagine and invent for mindfulness and more grounded living - to create for slowness and not for speed.
Imagine if the same minds who gave us the space shuttle and the Internet were to focus their brilliance on transporting us from outer and cyberspace to inner peace? The innovation writ large would facilitate a broad based cultural shift toward slowness and mindfulness as the accepted and idealized way of living.
What would the mainstreaming of mindfulness look like in our daily lives?
First and foremost it would identify and allow for a customized, manageable speed of living for each individual. Like the tides in the ocean our natural rhythms would come to dictate the patterns of our day.
It would enable a lifestyle in which we play more than we work. A mainstream mindfulness would prioritize kindness and compassion. No one would stand for another person going hungry or cold, ever. It would emphasize family and community over the individual.
It would replace large, impersonal institutions and companies with human-sized work, study and living spaces.
The list goes on and on, and is only limited by a mind, heart, and spirit trapped in the amber of (supposedly) modern thinking.
By innovating for mindfulness we will discover there is no shortcut to a better quality of life and to happiness. And with innovation finally freed from the need for speed we can begin to discover the truly next big thing: Peace of mind.