Incubation implies experts transferring their knowledge to young teams and businesses. Hence, an incubator needs to provide pertaining expertise. In this category, we will investigate the different experts to be involved in the incubation process.
The discussion about how to define and designate which type of expert1Just to name a few: https://new.coachingnetwork.org.uk/information-portal/what-are-coaching-and-mentoring/ https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/02/difference-mentor-coach.html https://brightmorningteam.com/2017/07/whats-the-difference-between-coaching-and-mentoring/ https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/coaching-vs-mentoring-why-the-difference-matters/ is a tediously ongoing debate that reflects the difficulty of agreeing on a common terminology in general. Frequently used terms are “coach” and “mentor”. Depending on the region these terms may be used interchangeably or that only one is used to designate both. E.g. in Finland they usually say “coach” to mean both. In Estonia they hardly ever use the term “coach”, only “mentor” and “trainer”. Then, there are further differentiations, such as “trainer” or “business developer”.
Three Groups of Experts
Regardless of their designations, the type of experts involved, the scope and nature of their involvement and their relation to the game dev teams and the incubator are relatively common to all game incubation environments. Therefore they can be categorised into three groups:
- A game expert accompanying a dev team as fixed element of the incubation offer (usually a staff member of the incubator) – with a structured education plan in the background
- A game veteran accompanying a dev team beyond the incubation offer as a sparring partner and elder peer, mostly an agreement between team and mentor not with the programme – offering informal advice and a very individual type of consultation
- An expert on certain topics (not necessarily only games related, e.g. legal aspects) – commissioned by the incubator.
For incubatees, distinguishing between the three formats is not essential. Though for the incubator this distinction will be part of the profile building, the action plan and the budgeting. Note that one person can fulfil all three roles in one. It also depends on the team which of the roles is more important to support them in their specific needs. Hence, let’s define the roles allowing for the use of designations that are somewhat arbitrary.