We interviewed Dr. Jane Thomason, a futurist, thought leader, and the Interim Chair of the World Metaverse Council. In addition, she is also the Founder of Supernova Data. Throughout the interview, we talked about her career journey, Metaverse, and World Metaverse Council. Learn more below.
Starting The Career Journey
We were curious about how Dr. Jane Thomason started her career journey, so we asked her, “Which career path led you to where you are today?”
She replied, “I’ve always wanted to change the world and believed I could. I can’t pretend that my life followed a clear pathway; I lived in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines for fifteen years working in international public health before returning to Australia and running Women’s Health and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Queensland.
Despite these amazing roles, I wanted to work globally. So I founded my own international development company in 1999. It grew into a successful business with a staff of 600 working worldwide on social impact. I loved the company and the people that I worked with. In 2013 I decided to sell the company to an American company that wanted to expand its footprint into the Asia and Pacific part of the world.
Because of my experience in the region, they asked me to stay on as the CEO to assist with growing the business. I tripled the revenue of the company in three years and built a first-class executive team who could run the company, which had stabilized at the higher revenue.
In 2016, I developed a fascination for Blockchain and its potential for social transformation. In 2017 I realized that if I wanted to pursue the Blockchain journey, I had to resign as CEO. I knew that transcending from having a job for twenty years to not knowing what my next step was, it wouldn’t be immediately clear to me what that step would be. Without planning it, I spent the better part of 2018 just being out there, participating, engaging, networking, speaking, and writing. Age was not going to slow me down or define me as I set out to take on a new challenge in my life. So, my message is, ‘You can do it. You just need to want it enough.’”
The Idea Behind The Council
We asked, “What inspired you to develop the idea for your company?”
“The Metaverse will profoundly impact many businesses. Citi predicts it will be a $13 trillion industry by 2030. We are already seeing a proliferation of industries, from music, art, big brand commerce, real estate, health care, education, and government, to name a few. Some of the early ways Metaverse will be used will be for shopping or attending virtual events or concerts, collaboration, education, scientific discovery, and industrial design using digital twins. We will see tremendous innovation as people realize how the Metaverse can be used in many ways to improve collaboration, education, economic opportunities, and social engagement. However, there are also risks and challenges, and no global body is the ‘go-to’ for Metaverse.” replied Dr. Jane.
She further continues by telling us her mission, “At a Metaverse Conference in Lake Bled, Slovenia, a group of us decided that we can set up that global peak body. The World Metaverse Council was formed in October 2022 with the Bled Declaration. Our Mission is to:
- Strive for an open, transparent, interoperable, decentralized Metaverse accessible to all.
- Build global collaboration, sharing technical advancements to improve the functionality of Metaverses everywhere.
- Develop and share standards for global Metaverse adoption.
- Promote teaching and education to encourage respect for Metaverse rights and freedoms and transparency to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance in all Metaverses.
- Connect and merge resources to accelerate the adoption of open, free Metaverses, promoting an open metaverse built on shared open-source protocols, open infrastructure, and an open financial system.
- Develop protocols to ensure that creators, innovators building them, developers building on them, and players playing in them are fully rewarded for their contribution.
- Develop guidelines so that people both in the real world and in virtual worlds have rights to freedom and well-being and that insofar as avatars can be viewed as virtual representations or modes of presentations of real people and must be perceived as virtual purposive agents and have moral rights and obligations similar to those of their real counterparts.
- Develop data security, privacy, rights, and consumer protection guidelines in the Metaverse.
- Develop guidelines to mitigate the physical and mental health impacts of the Metaverse.
- Develop guidelines on informed consent to be possible in the Metaverse.
- Develop guidelines to protect children in the Metaverse.
- Collaborate to create an equitable, inclusive, and truly decentralized Metaverse, maximize the incredible economic and social possibilities and minimize harm.
- Invite Metaverse creators, artists, innovators, thinkers, and governments and support the mission of the World Metaverse Council.”
Evolution of World Metaverse Council
“How have your priorities in terms of business evolved since you first started?” we further asked.
“World Metaverse Council is a start-up established in a rapidly expanding field, so we have many competing priorities. We also have multiple requests from our growing membership. We are focused on getting the structure up and running, appointing Working Group and Committee Chairs, and establishing our priorities for 2023. We will be focussing on regulation and standards, sustainability, education, and events in 2023.” she stated.
What’s the key strength to overcoming challenges?
She further stated, “We have an amazing Executive and 100 founding members from all around the globe, with networks and ideas. Our strength is that we are bound by a common purpose, to make the Metaverse a safe and accessible space for all. We are building a global collaboration network and are proud to share that among our Founding Members, we have 40 countries represented! We will steadily build the countries represented so that we become a truly global network.
Countries represented as of today include: Australia 🇦🇺, Austria 🇦🇹, Belgium 🇧🇪, Brazil 🇧🇷, Bulgaria 🇧🇬, Canada 🇨🇦, Chile 🇨🇱, Croatia 🇭🇷, Cyprus 🇨🇾, Egypt 🇪🇬, Estonia 🇪🇪, Finland 🇫🇮, France 🇫🇷, Germany 🇩🇪, Gibraltar 🇬🇮, Hungary 🇭🇺, India 🇮🇳, Indonesia 🇮🇩, Iraq 🇮🇶, Kenya 🇰🇪, Malaysia 🇲🇾, Malta 🇲🇹, Mauritius, Netherlands 🇳🇱, New Zealand 🇳🇿, Nigeria 🇳🇬, Oman 🇴🇲, Pakistan 🇵🇰, Portugal 🇵🇹, Puerto Rico 🇵🇷, Serbia 🇷🇸, Slovenia 🇸🇮, South Africa 🇿🇦, Spain 🇪🇸, Tanzania 🇹🇿, Turkey 🇹🇷, UAE 🇦🇪, United Kingdom 🇬🇧, USA 🇺🇸.”
Standing Out From The Crowd
Every business has its own uniqueness. We wanted to know what uniqueness adds more to The World Metaverse Council. So, we further asked, “What makes your company stand out from all the other businesses in your industry?”
She replied, “We are in a new industry, and we imagine future worlds using a distributed network of members. Through this network, we are crowdsourcing ideas and the latest developments, which we will share through education, events, and thought leadership content.
We aim to be the peak body for Metaverse globally. Our success will be measured through the growth of our network and uptake of our education and thought leadership content.”
Services & Upcoming Plans
This also intrigued us to understand more about the services of the World Metaverse Council. So, we further asked:
Tell us something about your services. What are you working on now?
“Metaverse Policy, Regulation, and Legislation Framework
The World Metaverse Council and its members will explore and set up Metaverse Policy, Regulatory and Legislative guidance, and Standards for Metaverse.
Metaverse for Sustainability Network
The Metaverse for Sustainability Network will promote the Metaverse as a tool for resilience and sustainability. It will nurture metaverse technologies for sustainable ecosystems. The world needs a vibrant technology ecosystem that supports the growth of technology for sustainability. The ecosystem can pool unique capabilities, users, research centers, data, and industry knowledge to unite many collaborators to create digital innovation worldwide. It can also foster the entrepreneurial spirit and create employment opportunities for the youth interested in technologies for sustainability. Innovation ecosystems foster entrepreneurship as well as the capital, research, education, and corporate innovation. A regional and global network of Metaverse Cooperatives could help accelerate the development, deployment, and scaling of digital technologies to build sustainability and solve environmental challenges.
Metaverse Youth for Sustainability
Users under the age of 18 make up one-third of all Internet users. They can lead the consumer demand for sustainability. The power of social influence and engagement is a vital complement to sustainability actions. Metaverses can help make sustainability the preferred choice for online customers. Young people own the future. We should prepare them for a digital future, mobilizing them as influencers for sustainability.
Metaverse immersive education for sustainability
Using AR/VR and immersive technologies, it will collaborate with metaverse providers to develop immersive sustainability experiences allowing people to understand the impact of unsustainable practices.
Metaverse Education Network
The Metaverse Education Network will develop and partner to provide high-quality courses on Metaverse Fundamentals and Metaverse Services in the fields of sustainability, health, education, tourism, and financial services.
Events (co-) organized or attended by the World Metaverse Council and its members will be spatial-temporal experiences to Communicate, raise awareness, and educate; Collaborate, research, and develop; Call for and launch actions; Network and get to know each other. Planned events are:
30 November-12 December 2023
In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the Metaverse
MetaCOP 28 will be organized at COP 28 Climate Change Conference side event in the Metaverse with a focus on creating interactive and augmented opportunities to present, communicate and support the realization of global climate objectives.
The contribution of the World Metaverse Council and its members will explore how augmented reality and decentralized grassroots activity can be leveraged to reach sustainable development goals and tackle global climate challenges.
Spring 2024 In Puglia, Italy, and the Metaverse
The World Metaverse Council will invite interdisciplinary thought leaders to reflect on a human-centric metaverse, create a research community, conduct a two-day symposium open to the public, and launch a space for augmented dialogues in the Metaverse.
The first keywords include history, arts, science, culture, food, education, creation, innovation, rights, reality, community, the human condition, policy, and complex systems.
World Metaverse Awards
The World Metaverse Council will host the World Metaverse Awards 2023. Award categories include :
Metaverse Inspirational Leader Globally
Metaverse Female Pioneer
Metaverse Male Pioneer
Best Metaverse Project Overall
Best Education Metaverse
Best Metaverse as a service
Best Metaverse Commerce
Best Metaverse Arts and Music
Best Metaverse Healthcare
Best Metaverse Real Estate
Best Metaverse for Sustainability
Best Metaverse start up
Best Government Metaverse”
Word of Advice
Lastly, we asked, “What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?”
With that, Dr. Jane gives very inspirational advice by saying:
- You have one life, and it passes fast – don’t waste it – find your passion and follow it. Live each day as if it could be your last.
- It actually doesn’t matter what other people think – be clear about who you are and be true to yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to fail – Take a risk, or you’ll never know. Overcome your fears – we all have them.
- Be courageous – even when afraid. Make decisions, use judgment – be honest and trustworthy.
- It’s easy to get distracted by small things – always keep your eye on the big picture and what you are trying to achieve.
- “Learn to reframe” life is full of curveballs. Things rarely go to expectations, and our ability to face a challenge and quickly ‘reframe the future’ is one of the most important lessons I can share. Yes – we had a plan – but that’s not the plan anymore – don’t dwell on it – work out plan B and move on!
- Finally – never give up. Be persistent; if you don’t succeed at first, try another strategy until you find one that works.
Connect with Dr. Jane Thomason on LinkedIn.
Find World Metaverse Council on LinkedIn.