Posted in Industry June 7, 2017
Idea Factory Initiative Wins Spark Awards 2017, Highlights Innovation in Game Development
When it comes to online gaming, Microgaming is one of the few names that are tossed around with respect. Known as one of the first to introduce the true online casino during the first half of the 1990s, this Isle of Man-based company has managed to help build a competitive casino industry. As a leading supplier of casino products and services, Microgaming has offered more than 800 casino games, business solutions and Quickfire. And along the way, Microgaming has picked a few awards, validating its standing in the industry as one of the most important players.
Today, Microgaming adds another feather to its cap, the Idea Factory Initiative, a corporate project that took home the Spark Awards 2017. By winning the Spark Awards 2017 for its Idea Factory Initiative, Microgaming boosted its stock as one of the most innovative companies around.
Changing the Way a Company Work, One Idea at a Time
Compared to other industry awards and citations, the Spark Awards 2017 is given to companies and organizations known fort their innovations in the way they work. The award is a salute to a system of working within the organization. With the award, Microgaming joins an elite list of companies and organizations that were cited for their innovations in the workplace that include previous winners like Places for People and GCHQ.
The team from Microgaming was led by Lydia Barbara, who is in charge with the collection of ideas, distillation and its implementation. The challenge for the Microgaming team is to collect as many ideas as possible, process all these ideas and present all these to the company. It was in 2016 when the project was first hosted within the company. For this initiative, all ideas submitted for consideration will undergo four rounds, and there is a Decision Panel that will assess all the ideas, and deem if these ideas are worthy of implementation. There were five ideas in 2016 that won the citation, and are being executed and implemented by the company:
- The Market – This is an in-house classified ads by Microgaming
- MGS House Lotto – This is a charity initiative by the company which makes use of lotto games and scratch cards
- New Compliance Portal – This is a feature for new operators, helping them start business with Microgaming
- Ideas Workshop – This is designed as a platform to generate and process the submitted ideas for consideration
- Emoticoins Online Slot – This is a planned video slot game to boost Microgaming’s portfolio
How the Idea Factory Works
Just like other companies and organizations, Microgaming faced a number of problems related to organizational efficiency. To ensure that it can tap into its best resources – the people, Microgaming came up with the Idea Factory. With the Idea Factory, the company empowers its members and employees to submit ideas for considerations which can be used by the company in running its operations and business, and in providing new games for the casino sector.
Lydia Barbara, Head of Innovation Strategy at Microgaming:
When launching the Microgaming Idea Factory, at first there was nervousness that we wouldn’t get enough ideas through to make it work. But the problem wasn’t in the quality or quantity of ideas – it was that we did not have a process in place to refine and approve them. It has been such an amazing experience, largely due to the enthusiasm of every person who has taken part. I expect to see great returns from the fantastic ideas coming through.
The Idea Factory comes with four parts or processes. Part One of the Idea Factory Initiative is the submission of the ideas. Interested individuals can submit their ideas through Microgaming’s website, or they can submit the ideas using an approved template. To ensure that the process is open and transparent, the submissions are anonymous, and will be validated by the Selection Committee. The team will then review the submissions, and to move to next part, the idea must get 10 ‘YES’ votes.
Part Two of the Idea Factory is the pitch, where the considered authors will have to make a pitch or explain the idea. The company gives 2 weeks for the participants to prepare and polish their proposals, and these should be pitched to the committee. The challenge here is to sway the members to support the idea.
Part Three of the Idea Factory is the building phase, where the idea will be explored. It will be assigned a budget which can be used to test the idea. This is also the time when the ideas can be tweaked or changed depending on the outcome of the tests. Also, it can be possible that some ideas may be abandoned.
Part Four of the process is the final pitch to the members of the Decision Panel. The Decision Panel of Microgaming is composed of senior members of the company, and they are tasked to decide which of the ideas will be given the chance to be built, supported and adopted by the company.
The process can be rigorous, and based on the results of the previous submissions, only 70 percent of all submissions passed Round 1. And from this number, 52 percent of all submissions will make it to Round 2. At the end of the process, only 19 percent of the submissions are deemed worthy to be adopted by Microgaming. The remaining ideas are clearly worthy of publication and for showcase which will bear the Microgaming brand. The process is clearly an innovation from Microgaming, an innovation in the way casino operators do their business.