Virtual Worlds as a Platform for Government Collaboration

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Today our society faces numerous challenges from the economy to the climate. Solving these issues begins with effective collaboration tools. How can virtual worlds assist in this process creating a "road map forward?"

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  • Always good to define the functional requirements and use cases – in this case collaborationWhat is it that we are trying to do?Different definitions from the webAnything with the name “federal consortium” must qualify as a common enterprise.
  • History certainly has a lot to teach usA successful collaboration between the US, the UK, and the the Soviet Union to invade GermanyThousands if not millions were involved, even if they are not in the photoCollaborations can change the course of history. This isn’t little stuff that we are talking about here!
  • However, today’s talk is about virtual worlds.In literary terms, they have been around for thousands of years. From Homer to Harry Potter.Great stories inspire virtual worlds in our minds.Why not use the lessons learned from one such venue to discuss collaboration.LOTR was a book, a movie, and most recently a MMO.Lets watch the formation of the fellowship.Tolkien fought in WWI in the trenches until he got ill from the nasty conditions. He used to communicate in code with his wife using letters so that she would know where he was on the front lines.Ironically, perhaps the military found out about this somewhere along the way because when WWII rolled around they tapped Tolkien to be a code breaker though he never officially served in the roll.
  • A power alliance of different races and cultures that would easily rival the big three.Elves hated dwarfs due to a long and negative history and yet they worked together for the greater good.There are lessons here to b e learned about working together despite our differences.
  • Now our fellowship today in FCVW has different players, but we still have our Gandalfs.Don’t make him club you with his wizard staff.
  • Along with different characters our story has different weapons.Technology rather than bows and arrows for today, security didn’t like me bringing alternatives.
  • Our weapon is information.The pen is mightier than the sword.Just ask TSA, a sharpie can be a dangerous weapon in the right hands and location.We’re going to use your phones to do some audience voting just like on American Idol. So please take out your cell phones, but remember to leave them on silent.The way you will be able to participate is by sending a text message. If you don’t know how to do that, just ask your kids! Or have your neighbor help you figure it out.If you still can’t figure it out then really, what are you doing at a virtual worlds conference?
  • Lets practice with our tools!Everybody pull out their phones.
  • I’d be in trouble if I didn’t vote thumbs up!Exercise your right to vote, participate, and even collaborate!I read the books before I could really understand much of anything other than get bored with all the singing.
  • Every good quest needs conflictGovernment collaboration has plenty of itIn the movie, the quest was to destroy Sauron’s evil ring of power and thereby save the world.Lots of conflict, but lets watch one scene where the conflict is inside the fellowship itself.Boromir was never excited about destroying the ringHere he decides to take it for himself out of a desire to protect his people and the goodness of his heart
  • The tool in this case is the ringOur tools are different, but can be just as deadlyBoromir had different priorities, he only wanted the power to protect his peoplePerhaps the correlation to our situation would be individual programs protecting their small budgets at the cost of the larger organizational mission.If there is any doubt in your mind in terms of what team Boromir was playing for recall that he died moment’s later protecting his hobbit partners.
  • Some job titles in government get to play the role of the “bad guy.”My favorite to pick on happens to be IT security.IT security are good people! I have no doubt that they would die for any member of our fellowship. Same goes for procurement.Rightfully so, these people are more worried about not going to jail then about being efficient or promoting innovation.We live in a culture where multiple ever changing policies and a system that rewards lack of bad press over innovation and collaboration lead to a lack of progress and ultimately -- CONFUSION!
  • If the map of middle earth looked like this, Frodo would have never made it out of the shire.Powerpoint may not be the best medium to convey complex messages.Further, in today’s networked society was you thought was a message for a small audience of knowledgeable people can easily become a worldwide nightmare.Our tools can create confusion and mistrust.Don’t believe me?
  • Powerpoint may not be the best choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice.Many times we are limited in our selection of visualization and collaboration technologies simply because it’s what is available in the office or certified by FISMA.Our audience, the world, doesn’t care about FISMA. They want transparency and power point spaghetti unfortunately doesn’t always cut it.
  • The corporate firewall: taller than the mountains of Mordor.Granted the wall was built to keep the goblins out of the internal network.But a wall has two sides. What are the firewalls doing to our employees and our ability to collaborate?I would put forth that our default deny firewall policies have become ingrained in our larger corporate culture.However, don’t take my word for it. Lets ask the audience.
  • While the poll is running tell the Hoover Building story about the coffee shop network.
  • Lets focus on a different elementFor those not familiar with the story the fellowship fell apart shortly after Boromir’s grab for power.Frodo decided nobody could be trusted and left to accomplish his task alone.
  • Help may come from a source that hasn’t been properly vetted by legal.If you accept help it may show favoritism.I don’t have all the answers.I do know if we don’t effectively listen or collaborate as a government we run the risk of ceasing to be important.
  • In the world of web 2.0 we are recreating a traditional PR channel.Twitter isn’t meant be a means of disseminating our official news feed.People, our people, want to provide input. The public demands collaboration.The results of not listening are not always pretty.
  • From the Pew Research Center for the Public and PressPotentially a variety of complex reasons for the current situation.Would you trust someone or something that didn’t listen to you?In an age of open and transparent government, what are we doing wrong?Perhaps we are listening, but our message is so refined by corporate PR it comes out sounding like just one more product for sale on the TV.
  • I think we’ve hit a low pointGovernment is doing some amazing things right!We are all here today to talk about the future and how to make it better.Fantastic TED talk last week on the power of crowd sourcing today’s difficult challengesOur audience and most of us want to be involved and want to collaborateWe just need to find the right tools and quest
  • This brings us to virtual worlds – why?Virtual worlds have a lot to offer both internal and external collaboration.I didn’t want to miss any important points so I made a short movie.
  • Finally the rewardsPhoto is of a treasure hunt we ran on NOAA’s island in SL encouraging exploratory learning.Boosted traffic by over 250% and led visitors to areas of the island with good content that had never been visited.
  • Rewards are not always measure in silver and goldThe shire could be a symbol of everything from California to the New York highlandsIts cheesy, but let me remind you that many of our quests literally focus on the survival of humanity.
  • NOAA started this visualizations 2-3 years ago, but to my surprise it has been updated in the last 48 hours to include an oil platformPerhaps it has special meaning for some of you todayOur quests are different and unique, but they all need forms of collaboration and partnerships.*and* we shouldn’t feel alone!
  • Share your passion and why you are involved in government so that we might all appreciate being part of the fellowship.
  • Just like this photo, the roadmap forward is hard to see beyond our immediate future.
  • Virtual Worlds as a Platform for Government Collaboration

    1. 1. Virtual Worlds as a Platform for Government CollaborationEric Hackathorn<br />5/13/2010<br />
    2. 2. act of working jointly together<br />cooperating as a traitor<br />What is collaboration?<br />working together on a common enterprise<br />sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus<br />
    3. 3. Famous examples of successful collaboration<br />The Big Three, February 1945<br />
    4. 4. The Quest<br />Fellowship of the Rings<br />
    5. 5. The Fellowship<br />
    6. 6.
    7. 7.
    8. 8. The weapons may have changed, but they are just as effective.<br />
    9. 9. I am familiar with Tolkien’s story<br />“The Fellowship of the Ring”<br />
    10. 10. I am familiar with Tolkien’s story<br />“The Fellowship of the Ring”<br />Poll4.com<br />Tweet @poll THUMBSUP or THUMBSDOWN<br />
    11. 11. Conflicts<br />LOTR Clip of the Ring turning someone bad<br />
    12. 12. Lessons Learned<br />Its easy to lose sight of what’s ultimately important<br />Improper use of our tools leads us down the wrong path<br />Through lack of understanding, sometimes the good guys appear as the bad guys<br />
    13. 13. Sometimes it feels like we have our own Boromir<br />
    14. 14.
    15. 15.
    16. 16. Lessons Learned<br />Don’t loose sight of “the point” by using inappropriate technology<br />Granted, it may be the only choice<br />Don’t forget who is your audience<br />More than the military, it’s the world!<br />
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Poll4.com<br />Tweet @poll PLUS OR MINUS<br />
    19. 19. Partnerships<br />
    20. 20. Lessons Learned<br />Life’s big challenges were not meant to be handled by a individual<br />…or a single agency, or a single government!<br />Take help where you can get it<br />
    21. 21. There are a lot of people out there…<br />…why aren’t we listening more?<br />
    22. 22. How much of the time do you trust the government in Washington?<br />
    23. 23. More than talking, it’s listening!<br />More than listening, it’s collaborating!<br />
    24. 24. Virtual Worlds Advantages<br />
    25. 25. Rewards<br />
    26. 26. The Shire<br />
    27. 27. The real world has different challenges<br />…but still needs saving<br />
    28. 28. In 140 characters or less what<br />is your quest or mission?<br />
    29. 29. Poll4.com<br />Tweet @poll MISSION<br />Your Message<br />
    30. 30. May you find fellowship on your quest<br />and effectively collaborate!<br />
    31. 31. Questions?<br />virtual.worlds@noaa.gov<br />

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