Our first quarter has been diverse and interesting. On the for-profit side we have introduced architects to collaborating via Second Life, investment bankers to mentoring via Eve Online, retailers to incorporating World Of Warcraft within their in-house training programs and provided second opinions to blue chips on their Internet Strategies.
On the non-profit side we have spoken with representatives from charities about how they might better harness the power of the Web. One of those is Paul Lynch and his committee who organise the annual GOAL charity ball in Paris. This year they are using a wiki to organise the event rather than email. Ronan and Paul have revamped www.goal-ball.org enabling people to pay for tickets online, specify meal choices and pick tables. A group has also been setup on Facebook (GOAL Ball Paris) for attendees to join in the conversation.
Each of the above projects are good illustrations of the transition now taking place in social computing. The beneficial use of second generation Web tools is now moving from early adopters to mainstream users.
Catching up on coverage of last weeks Metaverse U Conference in Stanford I was struck by Millions Of Us founder Reuben Steiger recommendation to read The Future of Work by Thomas Malone (2004). For those unfamiliar with earlier works by Peter Drucker, Charles Handy or a number of organisational thinkers it serves as a useful conversation starter. Personally I would recommend Giving Notice by Freada Kapor Klein as a more current and relevant reference point for those trying to understand the future direction of the work space.
Rivers Run Red CEO Justin Boddington recently remarked that 60% of the queries they have received of late related to internal communication projects. Organisations cannot be something on the outside they are not already on the inside as many early entrants to Second Life have learned. With two of the Metaverse Development Company founders who brought many of the early entrants into Second Life awakening to this fact that is a very good thing.
PA Consulting and The Sunday Times recently teamed up to host a conference titled Getting Real About Business in Second Life. Claus Nehmzow of PA Consulting moderated a panel with Randy Sisks of Cisco, Pascal Spelier of ABN Amro and Dominic Rushe of The Sunday Times. The event was recorded and is viewable in four parts. Runtime for each video is under 10 minutes.
Part one and two provide business presentations from each of the panel on their experiences in Second Life todate. Part three covers the following topics from the Q&A – virtual worlds v video conferencing, partnering through Second Life, communication methods and integrate channels. Part four covers the following topics from the Q&A – entry costs, focus groups, confidential meetings, recruitment and the future of virtual worlds.
Over the next five years most businesses will have a virtual world presence just as they have a website today. As the above example demonstrates some of the more forward looking organisations are already experimenting with early virtual world offerings. While only at the very beginning of the beginning of our transition to a Meta Age virtual worlds represent a unique facilitation role for organisations of all sizes and sectors. Interesting times indeed.