Digital expert Cheemin Bo-Linn offers executive playbook for Web 3 and the metaverse
- "As the physical and virtual worlds meld together in the metaverse, both the board and management must stay focused on what problem they are solving to satisfy current and future customer needs as they reimagine the possibilities. This transformative disruption can make the impossible possible."
- "Benchmark yourself, compare yourself to competitors and the industry leaders. Are your peers making similar investments?"
- "Start forming a team to be aware of the opportunities and the risks as you navigate the metaverse. Companies may have just a few years to develop the use cases, learn and test assumptions before appointing a Chief Metaverse Officer."
Joe Kornik sits down to discuss an executive roadmap for the metaverse with digital native Cheemin Bo-Linn, a renowned business executive and entrepreneur who has served as a CEO, Fortune 100 Vice President, C-suite officer and board director over the course of her career. For more of Bo-Linn's perspective on the board's role, click here.
In this interview:
1:30 – The board’s role in a Web 3 world
4:45 – Advice for the C-suite
6:00 – Do you need a Chief Metaverse Officer?
Digital expert Cheemin Bo-Linn offers executive playbook for Web 3
Joe Kornik: Welcome to the VISION by Protiviti interview. I'm Joe Kornik, Editor-in-Chief of VISION by Protiviti, our global content resource examining big themes that will impact the C suite and executive boardrooms worldwide.
Today we're exploring the metaverse future, and I'm excited to welcome in Cheemin Bo-Linn, a renowned business executive and entrepreneur who has served as a CEO, fortune 100 Vice President, C-suite officer and board director over the course of her career. She serves and has served on the boards of seven public companies and multiple private companies in Canada. The United States, Europe, and Australia, in several capacities. Bo-Linn has been recognized by the Financial Times as a top-100 global diverse board director, a top-50 Board of Directors by the National Association of Corporate Directors, and one of STEMconnector’s 100 CEO leaders in STEM. She was also inducted into the Women in Technology’s Hall of Fame. Cheemin, thank you so much for joining me today.
Cheemin Bo-Linn: Great to be here, Joe. Thank you for asking.
Kornik: Wow, what a resume. I just read that intro and as I've said, you've served on multiple boards, public and private, on three continents. So, I'm wondering what role you see for the board as it begins to think about Web 3 and the metaverse; where can boards be most valuable?
Bo-Linn: Having previously served as board chair and lead independent director, it's apparent that the board can be a valuable resource as it performs its fiduciary duties. A board that is diverse, competent, and well informed can ask the right questions of management as they navigate yet another market disruption—this time, the metaverse and the world of Web 3, or what we call the 3D internet world. It's not so much as if, but when and how much and where do we invest? The board must have a critical eye on risk and return on investment. As the physical and virtual worlds meld together in the metaverse, both the board and management must stay focused on what problem they are solving to satisfy current and future customer needs and to beat competition as they reimagine the possibilities. This transformative disruption can make the impossible possible.
So here are the areas that the board can add value. The board can ask questions as an example in three key areas: One, digital governance; two, financial and business risk; and, three, metaverse literacy. Let's take the first point, digital governance and ethics policies. We should ensure responsible use of artificial intelligence, implement data governance and enable trust, and be knowledgeable about new governance models.
Number two, financial and business acumen and risk ensure a balanced view of key realistic opportunities, for example, in delivering upgraded experience. Anticipate the associated risk and value creation. Examine the financials, including assumptions and investment thesis. Ask, are we investing strategically? Or is it hype or hope? Understand accounting and legal matters, monitor management's use and leveraging of tools as it conducts metaverse risk scenarios.
And lastly, point three--metaverse literacy. The board can add value when it is educated and asks management critical questions to validate those capabilities and growth strategy. Ask questions to determine their understanding of technology, interoperability, ethical norms, regulation, privacy and security of employee and customer data, fraud prevention, digital identity loss, and just their understanding of the overall ecosystem. The board should ask questions in regard to use cases to ensure it's in line with the company's growth strategy.
Kornik: Thanks for that, some great advice there for boards. And Cheemin, you've also been a CEO. So, as the C-suite starts to consider the business implications of the metaverse as well as potential investments in both resources and capital, what advice would you offer to the C-suite and why?
Bo-Linn: If I were to look at the considerations, and narrow it down to one, my key advice is: Have a different mindset. Focus on levels and cadres and investments required to become a future leader in this virtual space versus the starting block of assessing your current capabilities. You'll be surprised how two different starting points will have different outcomes. And then determine the framework in the gap, reflect on the relative success in the last major shift, which was digital transformation. Benchmark yourself, compare yourself to your competitors and the industry leaders. Are your peers making similar investments? What have you learned from early use cases? Also, discuss your company's leadership role in the metaverse: Is it to develop technology, solutions, standards, policies, or regulation?
Kornik: Well, speaking of investment and the C-suite, I know some companies have hired Chief Metaverse Officers to oversee the strategy, the risk, the governance of the metaverse. Do you think that's necessary and what value could a Chief Metaverse Officer add?
Bo-Linn: Let's look at what is happening now. As companies prepare themselves for the next chapter of the internet, the Metaverse, some companies such as Procter and Gamble, Disney and LVMH have hired Chief Metaverse Officers to manage and maintain the company's online presence. Nike and Gucci have hired people to facilitate their metaverse presence. But without such appointments, perhaps you can wait before appointing a Chief Metaverse Officer as you develop use cases and the metaverse matures. But act now. Start exploring the possibilities within the metaverse. Also, companies may need to wait because the skills of an ideal Chief Metaverse Officer are complex. Skills desired in such a person include both creative and technical experience, ranging from virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud computing, Blockchain, gaming experiences and engines, 3D modeling, animation tools and/or computer programming languages.
Let's recall what a Chief Metaverse Officer should do. He or she drives a vision, understands the new ecosystem and leads the execution of the metaverse initiative within the company. A Chief Metaverse Officer is the single point of contact and manages the brand image, mission and vision across virtual platforms. So, at least start forming a team. Be aware of the opportunities and the risks as you navigate the metaverse. Companies may have just a few years to develop the use cases, learn and test assumptions before appointing a Chief Metaverse Officer. Remember, Gartner predicts that by 2026 about 25% of the people around the world will spend at least one hour a day in the new virtual metaverse world for work, shopping, education, or socializing and entertainment. So, it's not a matter of if the metaverse will evolve, but when it will be fully deployed and adopted.
Kornik: Thanks, Cheemin, for that great advice to our business leaders.
Bo-Linn: Thanks again for allowing me to share my thoughts leadership on the metaverse and the new internet age.
Kornik: And thank you for watching the VISION by Protiviti interview. For Cheemin Bo-Linn, I'm Joe Kornik. We'll see you next time.