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The Metaverse – the next place of innovation? 

The Metaverse. Once a dystopia (1992 in “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson), now on everyone’s lips as the “new thing”? The idea of virtual reality permeating our everyday lives is not new, but it is only through the current state of technology that it has reached the point of practical relevance.  

What can the Metaverse offer, other than further commercialization by large corporations? We believe it’s new levels of collaboration. From our perspective, not least because of Corona, teleworking is a topic that no company can ignore anymore. Currently, teleconferencing technology is mainly used to transfer traditional meeting structures and rules into the digital world. But what happens when we fully unleash the digital possibilities?  

The metaverse is a digital world that does not necessarily obey known physical laws but is at least persistent and consistent in its existence. The design possibilities for how people encounter each other in the metaverse, what they see and hear, how they interact, are almost unlimited.  

It is only a matter of using them wisely. 

Source: Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash. Fischer TOR 

From analog workshops to metaverseshops 

Apart from status meetings, companies regularly hold collaborative workshops, such as innovation workshops (design thinking). Due to the spatial separation of employees, but also due to current regulations regarding health protection, it is necessary to find regulations on how such workshops can be conducted digitally.  

Here, with the help of the metaverse, a potential for digital workshops can be developed, which is even several steps ahead of physical workshops.  

In every group of participants there are different types of people. Extroverts, introverts, talkative, quiet, spontaneous, dominant, or reserved, etc… At the same time, the presence of supervisors can often create inhibitions among participants. Through the virtual representation of participants through avatars, an anonymity can be maintained, which allows the participants to interact more freely with the group and perhaps even appear differently than usual. This removes inhibitions and promotes participation. The avatars can also be used methodically, e.g. by embodying the respective point of view in the Walt Disney method. The person behind the avatar is deliberately and intentionally relegated to the background. 

MetaMethodsMashup 

Typical for innovation workshops are rapid prototyping methods, e.g. paper prototypes, etc., but the methods are always subject to the skill of the participants and the available resources.  

In a digital world, for example, like in Minecraft, a digital world can be created in which participants can create all kinds of objects and quickly position them in space and let them interact with each other. In this way, simulations can be generated extremely quickly, in line with the fail fast, fail early approach.  

Source: Microsoft 

But: 

When it comes to AR/VR worlds, the requirements for operating the avatar in this world increase. Inhibitions and hurdles must be removed here. In particular, it must be possible to learn the operation within a 10-15 minute introduction.  

And:  

Before a workshop, the setting and the possibilities within the virtual world have to be defined wisely. There is currently little experience on how much freedom is useful, or at what point the total departure from known physical approaches can harm the workshop. re:think is actively researching innovative approaches to optimize the setting design for workshops. It is to be expected that depending on the type of workshop, a different setting will be useful. 

If you are interested in testing one of our prototype VR workshops, please contact us!  If you want to talk about it or need some help, just drop us an email!  


by Kristof von Anshelm, Lead Mindset Transformation 

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