Useful collaboration activities for incubators.
The Power of Collaboration
The underlying motivation for seeking collaboration or cooperation with other parties in the ecosystem and at its fringes is as multifaceted as their resulting activities and potential for incubators. As joint activities often imply a risk with high investment with not always a secure or quick return, opportunities that offer themselves are often passed up.
The most common reasons for entering a collaboration or cooperation are:
- A source to finance the incubator
- A tangible benefit for incubatees
- Consolidation of knowledge and incubation practice
- An increased client and expert base
- More (international) visibility
B2B Opportunities for Incubatees
Networking and project collaborations can lead to B2B cooperation that benefits the incubator’s clients. Examples of this, though still rare, would be to bring about cross-sectoral projects or business ventures for the incubatees with germane industries (movie, VR / SX, animation). In the case of applied or serious games with the respective sector. This is where the incubator takes on the role of “broker” with a direct benefit for the incubatee.
There are also exchange programmes with companies (EU Youth Entrepreneurship programme) or with other game incubators, e.g. as “residencies”.
Alliances between game incubators are rare due to the fact that there are not many dedicated game incubators. The majority of game incubators hasn’t been active for long enough to start building alliances (e.g. Game Hub Scandinavia1Game Hub Scandinavia: https://gamehubscandinavia.dk/).
Often, they are a collateral effect from funded transnational projects involving other game incubators. Some join existing IT incubation networks (examples: Sweden, European Network, or Creative Industry cluster North Sweden) which offer organised shared space and visibility, plus often also knowledge and competence building events.
Enhancing the Incubation Quality
Game incubators joining forces to carry out activities that would enhance the quality of their programme is yet the rarest form of collaboration within the game incubation ecosystem. Admittedly they rely on a long-term commitment and vision.
The fact that there aren’t enough game incubators for a collaboration to be constrained by an environment of strong competition would seem to provide favourable grounds for joint activities. Common interests that would motivate joint (and potentially ransnational) endeavours are:
- Improvement of mentoring competences with senior developers / veteran entrepreneurs
- Validation of the underlying concept of one’s game incubation approach (exchange, reflection and discourse of incubation practices and pre-conceptions amongst experts)
- Expanding through sharing the network of mentors, coaches, investors and publishers
- Offering international incubation environments (e.g. a summer camp – see Stugan2Stugan: http://www.stugan.com/)