Managing innovation and the appetite for taking risks

Managing innovation and the appetite for taking risks

Friday, October 21, 2016 Posted by Totally Gaming

Will Mace has admitted that his ‘Head of Innovation’ job title is something of a misrepresentation of his role with Unibet, because they prefer to focus on collective innovation as a company.

Mace referenced the William Hill ‘centre of excellence’ in Shoreditch, and expressed his opinion that a specific innovation-based office can send out a negative message to the rest of the team, as a place where the ‘cool and sexy stuff’ will happen whilst everyone else just gets on with their jobs. This division between innovation and the core business can also cause key ideas to be dismissed.

He was appearing in an innovation and risk panel discussion at EiG 2016, alongside Tamir Berler, the CEO for Commologic. The pair have been working together recently, as Unibet became the first industry operator to integrate Commologic’s BetUP product, which allows its players to participate in instant pool-betting games predicting events within live football matches.

Berler was full of praise in his assessment of the ongoing partnership with Unibet and concurred with the idea of avoiding a hierarchy for implementing innovation, whilst highlighting the Commologic model where ‘everyone can approach with new ideas and suggestions’. 

The panel was moderated by David Sargeant, who is the founder of iGaming Ideas, which ‘sits as the bridge between operators looking for new things, and the new things that are looking for operators’. He admitted that ‘as an industry, we can be very risk averse’, and agreed with Berler’s assessment that ‘the smallest companies which don’t have the luxury of failing are the ones that take bigger risks.’

Sargeant spoke about two generic profiles for start-ups approaching iGaming Ideas. The first is a company in the early stages of development, which needs help positioning itself in the market and being introduced to potential customers at the right time. The second is a company that has a ready-made product, but needs a way of pivoting itself into the gambling industry to monetise its technology.

It was the difference between these two profiles which caused a minor disagreement between Berler, who advocated ‘waiting until you are ready’ before approaching an operator, and Mace, who cited the example of working with a company focused on registration and verification in the financial services to co-develop an entirely new model for the product which can be more relevant for Unibet. 

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