What video game companies can teach us about innovation

Real business

Shane Schutte

New research from HEC Paris business school suggests that businesses should take lessons from videogame developers in order to achieve technological breakthroughs.

Professor Thomas Paris, an expert in the cultural and creative industries, studied Ubisoft, the third largest developer of videogames in the world. He found that the innovation process for videogames allowed freedom for developers as it does not have specific set objectives. It is this flexibility that he suggests other sectors could adopt in order to foster their own technological innovations.

Professor Paris says: “Compared to traditional industries, where the objectives are set and predefined by rational targets or other activities, the cultural and creative industries – such as videogaming – present a more open-ended setting. Such flexibility results from the fact that the product has no specific standards to meet.”

The study – which is one of the first to specifically look at the creative process as a key stage in technological innovation – found that bouncing new ideas between creative and technological departments achieved the greatest result. At Ubisoft, these teams strive to work together when developing videogames.

Businesses that adopt this combination of flexibility and co-operation between teams could improve innovation within their own industries.

“Creativity and technology are intertwined,” Professor Paris added, “This research demonstrates that creativity can be achieved by exploring new materials and their technological possibilities.”

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