On July 14, 2008 Dancing Ink Productions produced a major event for Fortune 500 company Manpower, Inc., called the “Power of Collaboration: Manpower’s First Anniversary in Second Life.” The event included a report by the same name (downloadable as a PDF file here or by clicking on the above picture) exploring the influence and impact of virtual worlds, which Manpower considers to be an emerging labor market, on the world of work. (Read the Manpower, Inc. press release here.)
The event included three pieces of machinima by DIP in collaboration with machinimist Draxtor Despres. You can watch the videos here (1, 2 and 3) in the order in which they were shown during today’s event.
This celebration would not have taken place without the visionary leadership of Manpower Inc. Senior Vice President Global Workforce Strategy Tammy Johns, whose thoughtfulness and expertise formed the basis of the tone of the event, which was reflective of the company’s significant global presence. Our conversations during the writing of this report were rigorous and full of energetic momentum. Dancing Ink Productions would also like to thank Dan Darrow (Horatio Decosta in Second Life), who leads Manpower’s Second Life presence, and Jessica Qin, IBM’s Chief Virtual Architect, who first introduced Rita J. King (as her avatar Eureka Dejavu) while working on a report for IBM, “From the Fire Pit to the Forbidden City: An Outsider’s Inside Look at the Evolution of the VUC.” Jessica, at the time, was working to build Manpower Island.
The July 14, 2008 event, which celebrated Manpower’s first year in Second Life with a roundtable of thoughtful individuals including Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Joerres (who shone when he spontaneously took on the challenge of discussing existential issues) and Philip Rosedale in a world that he created. Other speakers included Lynda M. Applegate, Professor, Harvard Business School, Dr. Jonathan Joseph Orr, co-founder of the Orr Institute, Dominique Turcq, President, Boostzone Institute, and Second Life’s Gentle Heron who runs an organization for people with disabilities called Virtual Ability, Inc (her Second Life efforts were profiled in “The Story of the Heron Sanctuary,” a January 2008 article in DIP’s Dispatches from the Imagination Age) .
Rita J. King blogged about the event on Dispatches from the Imagination Age:
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in the work of virtual work, it was revealed at the roundtable, is the fact that some people are sleeping while others go about their lives half a world away, and therefore cannot collaborate by dint of the fact that they are simply not conscious at the same time.
Philip Rosedale expressed an intriguing idea about a global work flow in which people will pass off work to one another. It’s an exciting idea, because it will lead to greater productivity and improved cultural understanding through collaborative energy, which would accelerate the rate at which difficult problems are solved. My prediction is that another model will be overlaid on the global work flow–people’s rhythms will change and the cycles of sleep and waking will adjust for those who find themselves collaborating on complex projects. I first heard of this phenomenon while documenting IBM’s Virtual Universe Community, when scientists in multiple continents discussed their method for working together on protein folding experiments. I just experienced it myself while working with a global DIP team consisting of, among others, a Scot (Toran Cult), an Austalian (Starr Sonic), a German living in California (Draxtor Despres) and Americans from both coasts and in between. It never really felt like we were dealing with time zones, even when I counted the hours on my fingers to see when we might all be in-world again, but tonight, I’m feeling the jetlag of virtual work, even though we always met in the Metaverse.