Fuqua CCMBA: What an Amazing Four Years!

Last Friday, in St. Petersburg Russia,  I taught the Culture, Civilization and Leadership course for Fuqua’s CCMBA program for the very last time.

This was a very moving day for me as it caused me to reflect on how far we have come over the last four years in creating what I believe to be a truly differentiated global leadership program at Fuqua.

Four years ago I had the wonderful opportunity to join Blair Sheppard and Bill Boulding as they set out on an ambitious journey to reinvent business education. We wanted to re-write all the rules and create a program that created leaders of consequence who deeply understood the cultural, economic and political transitions and tensions going on around the world.

The reason we believed that we needed a fundamentally different global leadership program was captured very effectively in this wonderful one-minute video:

With this vision in place Bill Boulding and I embarked on a year-long design process to create a situational learning experience aimed specifically at building the skill of recognizing and valuing cultural diversity in each region.

Our design was bold, it required that reach well beyond our comfort zones to redefine the very notion of the traditional course and to create a collaborative learning process that leveraged the residency experience itself as the primary learning vehicle.

After three years of fine-tuning thanks to the very helpful feedback of our students, I truly believe we have created a global leadership offering that is without peer. For proof, I offer up Fuqua’s “Embedded and Connected” video where the students themselves describe the experience they go through and what they have learned as a result.

As I move on to Duke Corporate Education for the next chapter in my career, I leave Fuqua incredibly humbled to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program. During the three years I had the honor of engaging over 450 incredibly talented students from over 35 countries. During that time I travelled over 230,000 miles and I got to see the world through many different eyes. This is an experience that has profoundly changed my perspective on the world.

They say that the greatest way to learn is to teach. CCMBA has taught me that the greatest way to learn is from your colleagues as you jointly try to make sense of what you perceive around you.

Thank you Fuqua, Thank You Blair and Bill and thanks to all of my students for making me see the world in a completely different way…it truly has been an amazing four years!

Dubai’s Impact on the World Market

As many of you know, I have the privilege of teaching in Fuqua’s Cross Continent MBA Program. In designing the program we wanted to embed the students in the regions that were shaping the global business landscape for the 21st Century.

Just a few weeks ago our CCMBA students students were in Dubai where they got to hear, first hand, about Dubai’s 2015 Strategy and how it needed to be adjusted due to the recent financial crisis and the role that Dubai World plays in the region.

For those of you thinking that what is happening “over there” in Dubai will not impact us here in the US, I urge you to take another look at Fuqua’s “While You Were Sleeping Video.”

I think it is fair to say that, given their recent experience in Dubai, our CCMBA students are really getting a first hand look at how business is being redefined in the 21st Century.

Virtual Worlds Conference at UT Austin


I had the good fortune of keynoting the Virtual Worlds conference at UT Austin. The conference was broken into two days: Academic and Enterprise. You can see the agenda here.

On Thursday, the winning papers submitted to Management Information Services Quarterly (MISQ) special edition on Virtual Worlds. Over 60 papers were submitted to this special edition – a significant number to be sure. The papers spanned both MMORPG and Virtual Words and explored issues of indentity, place and space, and virtual trading/commerce.

There is some GREAT academic working going on in the Virtual World/MMORPG space and I would encourage you all to get a hold of the special issue when it comes out.

Last night Eilif Trondsen and I had the chance to walk around the campus and check out the famous bats in Austin. It was certainly a sight to see. Here is a shot of the tower at UTA. I just love campuses so much energy and curiosity. Wherever I go I always try to walk the campus to feed off that energy.


On the enterprise side, Craig Becker form IBM addressed a very large audience at the Business School yesterday evening. He did a great job of sharing the IBM story. Most notable to me, however, was when Craig asked how many people had an Avatar in SL, less than 10 folks raised their hands…and most of them were faculty not students.

This morning I addressed the group and worked hard to tie the research papers to the Seven Sensibilities of Virtual Worlds that I talk about a lot. Turns out that there was a very good mapping.

Here are the charts:

Panel 1: Virtual Worlds as a Platform for Commerce and Collaboration
Right now, listening to a great panel that includes Dell, Cisco, American Cancer Society, and U of Stockholm.

Laura Thomas from Dell mentioned how she leverages twitter to drive spontaneous virtual world interactions around emerging news. She simply tweets that she will be in the Virtual Cafe on Dell island and those who follow her on Twitter show up if available.

Anne Lange from Cisco, following on Laura’s theme, brought up some great points about Virtual Worlds being but one component of the emerging digitally enabled Human Network. I think she is right on. I have written on this before in this post where I ask “What is the Uber Web 2.0/3Di Mash Up for the Enterprise”.

David Neff had a great talk on how the American Cancer Society is leveraging virtual worlds and seeing significant value. In building their environment on a community model, ACS generated $2,000 in charitable donations in 2004. In 2005 that number rose to $5000, In 2006 it jumped to $41,000, in 2007 they were at $118,000, and in 2008 that number rose to $215000. David’s talk was truly inspiring and a GREAT example of how they are able to leverage the virtual world for a very noble cause. As he says Cancer never sleeps and neither will we.

Robin Teigland from University of Stockholm is talking about the commerce in Entropia Universe from Mindark. Entropia does not get near the visibility of Second Life but they are certainly worth checking out. Entropia is very much oriented around virtual commerce and they are now a real Sweedish bank, having secured a license in March 2009. Entropia is different in that virtual assets deteriorate. If you are a digger and you use a shovel, it wears out and you need to buy a new one.

Mindark is partnering with CHINA (yes China) to create a “Virtual Economy District – A Virtual World where millions will work, communicate and be in love.”

Robin’s View of the she explores two key uncertainties to set up a potential set of scenarios:

    In 2012 how advanced will the usage of virtual worlds be? Very Advanced or Less Advanced

    How integrated will virtual worlds be? Integrated or Fragmented

This analysis sets up Four Scenarios for 2015: Integrated Worlds versus Fragmented Worlds and Advanced Usage versus Less Advanced Use.

Scenario 1: In one converged universe (Integrated and Advanced)
You have a gigantic market of consumers. High penetration, easy avatar mobility, High scalability and Security and Business Transformation.

Scenario 2: Digital Divide (Integrated, Less Advanced)
Ease of mobility, self governance, dominance by gaming, traditional versus virtual biz.

Scenario 3: Virtual Silos (Advanced, Fragmented)
Many competing limited worlds, Difficult Avatar and Asset Mobility, Limited Scalability,

Scenario 4: Wild Worlds (Less Advanced, Fragmented)
MMORPG like context. More grassroots and not a lot of business traction.

Key question for panel, if Virtual Worlds go behind enterprise firewalls for legitimate security and privacy reasons won’t we be further fragmenting the VW space? This speaks directly to one of the key issues I see in terms of what kind of business model virtual world providers will use: Software as a Service or Enterprise License? If it goes enterprise license, we will end up with a lot of enterprise islands of collaboration but not an overall virtual market within which people participate wholesale in a 3D virtual economy.

Keynote: Eilif Trondsen – Virtual Worlds for Work and Learning

Eilif gave a great overview of enterprise applications and again echoed that virtual worlds are but one of many collaborative technologies. Business people do not like to bring in disconnected tools. They need them to be connected and integrated. Eilif also mentioned that there are 100 lawyers holed up in Silicon Valley working on the IBM/Sun deal and that could set up a lot of opportunity (or threat) for enterprise virtual worlds.

Eilif also had some very good analysis of the different platforms available. I will ask him to post the charts. In looking to the future Eilif proposed five possible futures: Grand Unifying Theory (Habbo and Disney say no), Balkanization (Where we are today), Semi-Unified Theory (Sun and IBM), De-Facto Standard (Microsoft), Web as a hub (sending data back and forth between worlds via the web).

All very interesting stuff and I leave the conference pumped up for 3DTLC!

Hope to see you all there!