Thursday, November 10, 2011

Business Goes Virtual - Chapter 9 - Real in the Virtual World

The ninth post of my Business Goes Virtual blog series continues with “Chapter 9 - Real in the Virtual World”.
Some companies gave up on [Second Life] (SL), others learned and revamped, and a select few actually got it right the first time. In the past 5 years, we have learned a great deal about what works and what does not work in SL. Learning insights include the following:
  • Virtual worlds are about interaction and engagement. 
  • Events drive traffic.
  • In-world staff are better than bots.
  • Second Life offers unprecedented room for innovation.
  • Community experience is crucial
Some Tips on How to Successfully get started in Second Life:
  • Set a clear vision in your organization to embrace new virtual world capabilities:
    • Increase your employees’ collaboration, project management skills, and their sense of fun in the workplace.
  • It is imperative to develop, early on, clear goals and objectives with effective and relevant performance metrics. Start simple, gain some success, and build momentum.
  • Evaluate and experiment with virtual world experiences to learn.
  • The best way to optimize learning is to develop a learning lab or a pilot to interact online with external customers or recruits. As the numerous case studies have shown, learning labs and pilots are effective in SL. Having relevant performance metrics and reporting approaches to gain further executive support is also a key success factor.
  • Develop a collaboration competency. Collaboration competency is necessary in order to leverage virtual worlds solutions. This is the ability to collaboratively solve problems of mutual interest and work toward win-win outcomes. True collaboration requires the development of leadership behaviors that work in a virtual world. The leadership behaviors include the following:
    • The ability to develop rapid trust with people that you may never have physically interacted with.
  • Ensure your SL strategy is integrated into your Web 2.0, social mediated, and knowledge management strategies.
    • Develop collaborative work spaces to gather knowledge, express ideas, and concerns and share collective know- how. There are a variety of solutions that support collaborative knowledge generation activities:
      • Web conferencing solutions (e.g., WebEx, Live Meeting)
      • Document creation collaboration solutions (e.g., Atlassian, Confluence Social Text, IBM Lotus Connections, Igloo, Jive, Microsoft SharePoint)
    • Start small, yet think big!
      • A small and tightly focused project with clearly defined goals and objectives is usually the best way to get started. Suitable application areas for getting started include the following:
        • Recruiting islands— such islands offer an effective means of attracting users, particularly web-savvy and technically skilled talent (Gen X and Y).

Source: Pages 152, 154-157

Does your company use virtual worlds?  If so,  how does your company utilize this newer technology?  What kind of benefits does it reap from using VWs?

If not, how can your business benefit from using VWs in the future?

The content includes:
Chapter 1 - Virtual Business: Real or Imaginary?
Chapter 2 - The New Face(book) of Organizations
Chapter 3 - Real Leadership in the Virtual World
Chapter 4 - The Power of Sharing
Chapter 5 - Making Sense of Virtual Worlds

Chapter 6 - Any Place, Any Time
Chapter 7 - The People Know Best
Chapter 8 - Everyone Has a Stake
Chapter 9 - Real in the Virtual World

Chapter 10 - What Every Leader Needs to Know

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