Running the incubation programme
The Success of an Incubator
The success of an incubator depends on how it is managed from a short-term and a long-term perspective. Success is also guaranteed by a strong relationship between the incubator and the incubatee.
This includes the whole incubation process and the main tasks to handle:
- formulate, implement and maintain an incubator structure
- select properly companies for the incubation programme
- have a well-prepared incubation contract
- provide targeted and high-quality services to businesses
- create and maintain an incubator’s community network
- manage and motivate incubator’s staff
The Implementation Challenge
The core challenge of implementation, i.e. running the incubation programme, is to be agile as an incubator. But you should have a long-term plan as well.
The people who are running the incubator need to have the ability of both being present for daily operations activities (react to needs of incubatees and stakeholders) and be able to look into the future (finances, conferences, etc.).
This is why dedicated staff for each of these tasks is favourable. A person who is looking at long-term issues might not be available for daily tasks both with regards to time and mindset.
The Long-Term Plan
An incubator’s long-term plan needs to be oriented around the “game industry” year. There are certain publishing schedules, conferences, console releases, etc. that are crucial for incubatees. The incubator needs to be aware of a wide variety of different developments for its incubatees. These game industry-wide developments and events are relevant for every incubator.
In addition, there are also more local constraints that affect each incubator differently. Depending on the institutional set-up of the incubator, graduation timings of a university might be important. Depending on the incubator’s funding source, reporting period or application deadlines for funding opportunities might be relevant.
All these game industry-wide and more local developments and events affect the incubator’s staff and their workflow. An incubator needs to plan ahead accordingly. The incubator needs to be in the position to not only deal with those overarching developments but most importantly focus on helping its incubatees on a daily basis.