In the end of September IGDA Finland organized international games leadership conference in Helsinki. Finnish game industry has grown and matured over the last two decades and there is a growing need for better leadership models. At the end of 80’s game development in Finland started to be more of a team effort than a one-man job and in 2018 Finnish Game industry employed about 3200 people in 220 studios. (Neogames 2019.)
Leadership and strategy
Game industry veteran Wilhelm Taht opened the day on behalf of speakers, he’s talk was about meaning of culture, leadership and strategy in the creative world. Taht has previously worked in companies like Rovio and Remedy and he talked about things he has learned on the way.
Taht reminded that the meaning of strategy is to inspire and induce action. And the role of a leader is to interpret the strategy to others so that this is possible. Strategy is useless, as is leadership, if its only talked about and not carried into effect. Taht believes that in order to innovate, and get the magic happening, intelligence and action need to be strategically aligned. People need to believe in the strategy and be inspired by it.
Reflections on Leadership and Strategy in a Creative World talk by Wilhelm Taht. Picture: Ria Gynther.
Safety and trust
Next speakers, Sophie Vo from Voodoo and Ubisoft Redlynx’ Mirella Keto, had similar themes in their talks: Trust, respect and vulnerability.
Vulnerability is essential for building social connections. Figure: Michael Sahota (2012)
Vo has worked over a decade with creative teams and in her mind, trust is the base of every good team. Vo talked about how important it is that you can be yourself in a team and how giving feedback to each other can improve the workflow. To achieve this, you need to trust your team and personally be open and trusting.
Mobile Game industry veteran Sophie Vo works at the moment with German game comppany Voodoo. Picture: Ria
Main message from Keto was how important and hard it is to be vulnerable as a leader. Courage and vulnerability are all linked to authenticity and Keto believes that authentic leaders can also be better leaders. To be authentic, you also need to be self-aware. Redlynx has incorporated personality tests and self-reflection as part of their in-house leadership training.
From junior to senior
Last main track talk of the day was by Miloš Jeřábek of the topic Build On Seniors, Bet On Juniors. Jeřábek talked about how junior employees can be good assets to company, coming from different backgrounds with different views on things and they are eager to learn the company ways. Juniors can potentially grow up to be industry superstars with a help of good mentors.
At LAMK the GameChangers -project has also helped new talents in entering the game industry. During the project the meaning of supportive team, inspiring mentors and the help from industry experts was shown to be most appreciated.
Helsinki is said to be a world leader when it comes to (mobile) game development, and conferences such as the Leadership Day help to keep it on the map. A recording from the Leadership Day 2019 is also available if you wish to familiarize yourself more deeply with the topics of the day.
Written by Ria Gynther works as a project coordinator in the GameChangers project and Juulia Lidman who is a board member of IGDA Finland Lahti Hub and media technology student in Lahti University of Applied Sciences.
IGDA Finland. 2019. Leadership Day by IGDA Finland. [Cited 9.10.2019]. Available at: https://www.igda.fi/leadership-day
Neogames. 2019. The Game industry of Finland report 2018. Neogames Finland ry. [Cited 9.10.2019]. Available at: http://www.neogames.fi/fgir2018/
Sahota, M. 2012. Vulnerability. [Cited 9.10.2019]. Available at: https://agilitrix.com/2013/02/the-power-of-vulnerability/
Originally published 19.11.2019 in LAMKbusiness blog.