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Posted by : Miranda Jensen
Date Published: 21 August 2015

Virtual Reality for Change
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WOW. Today I experienced virtual reality (VR). I didn’t experience it at a trade show or in some future forward event where tech heads come together to show what ‘could be’ I experienced it here, now, with practical application and it has changed my world.

I experienced the virtual sensation of being without a body, a consciousness unbound by physical gravity, I experienced flying and exploring: seeking through knowledge. But mostly what I experienced was how quickly and easily this tech is available to us now, and the applications and value of this emerging technology are vast.

I met with Yoram Symons, Director of Sales and Marketing at Merkava (Virtual Reality Specialists). We had connected at a networking event where I think my pitch around ‘inspiring the modern explorer to reach beyond the imaginable’ connected somewhere at his core because this is what virtual reality is all about. Taking you outside of what you believe your experience is, and can be, and taking those experiences to a whole other level.

In my introduction to virtual reality I experienced footage of a virtual tour around the streets of Paris and I was immediately transported back to the feeling of being there in real life, which for me is now over 15 years ago. I experienced being 'out of space' and through this educational program learnt about the universe and everything in it. I could look up down and all around, the sensation was pleasant, I wanted to be there, to stay there.

Yoram also loaded the 360 footage of myself presenting at the networking event we had met at. It is surreal to say the least to meet yourself in 3D. I was in arms reach of myself, and I was fixated: on the room, on individuals responses, on all the details that I hadn’t been aware of when I was ‘in the experience'. A powerful development tool for presenters and performers.

I experienced the ‘jolt’ of coming back into the room, which really felt somewhat like a disappointment. I was also aware of the immense value that I could step out of my body and travel to somewhere so beautiful only to return in an instant and bypass the 14 hrs of travel and connecting flights. It was in this moment that I realised I could go anywhere, I could experience anything. I wasn’t ‘watching' something that was being played to me, I was there, immersed in the experience. The footage of waterfalls and gully’s, pools, trees and sparkling light were all a calming and re-charging gift.

For organisations implementing transformational changes the application of VR is innumerable. At the initial stages of any organisational change program we often encourage 'green field' thinking and are constantly imploring people to ’think outside the box’. Many workshops are held ‘off-site’ to physically get people out of their own space. Having just experienced being out of my body I am feeling waves of innovation flowing through me and can only imagine what the experience of VR would inspire in individuals in this organsiational context. As transformational programs are progressing, we often look for ways that staff can experience the change, setting up a ‘process space’, an experiential version of what will be implemented can now be bought to life with VR, and it’s portable.

I left my meeting with Yoram with a ‘cardboard VR device’. You simply insert your iPhone and press play. There are apps with 360 degree content that are enabled for VR and ready to go. The apps are free, the content is free and you watch it in a cardboard box. Too easy. I did of course experience the full range of tech available, from the full scale ‘bubble head’ device to more portable versions and the disposable cardboard (literally cutting-edge!) The quality of course varies and the processing power required to drive VR content at the highest level is hefty, but I can see many applications for my corporate clients and it will be a game changer.

As I am typing and capturing all my thoughts and experiences I feel that familiar itch, to go and ‘play’. The cardboard box is sitting next to me and the instructions to assemble are in my inbox, I feel I could get lost in virtual reality, and my creativity is going to soar.

If your organisation is on a journey of change and you would like to learn more about the application of VR as an innovative approach to increase change adoption. Please contact us for a chat.





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