2nd life becomes real world
If you are interested in innovation, you've got to have a toe in the water in the social networking, video game, virtual reality space. There is a significant amount of creativity going on in these arenas. No one knows today where a lot of this work will end up, but I think I can say with all safety that these markets and movements will end up driving a lot of social change and innovation, and will ultimately impact the way we live and interact. For innovators, there's probably no better place, no more fertile ground, than social networking sites and especially virtual reality to try out concepts and ideas.
Yes, I know that most Fortune 500 firms probably have a director of social networking and social media, and are considering how to get involved with virtual reality. Many firms have established store fronts inside Second Life or other virtual reality environments. Yet to many of these firms these efforts are sandboxes. They know they need to be there but can't figure out what they are supposed to do. What I think should happen is that they should round up the people in their firms that understand and interact with virtual reality and use those folks as a focus group. What do they want/need in that space? What could our firm offer? Every firm has employees who are gamers or active in 2nd life or other virtual reality. Why not tap into those folks to gain more insights and start gathering the trends and intelligence that they can provide?
I can't tell you how these environments will ultimately shape our existence or what new products, services or opportunities will emerge, but I can tell you that it will happen. The question is whether you'll be blindsided by the innovation or out in front.