NetEnt is one of the most obvious success stories in online gambling. When it comes to online casino platforms and games, it stands up there with the biggest and most successful suppliers, truly a behemoth in its field. The company counts itself as a pioneer with innovation at its core ad in order to hammer home its message internally it came up with the concept in 2014 of holding an innovation week that would encourage employees to focus as a company on new ideas and concepts that might help drive the company forward. According to chief executive Per Eriksson, it proved to be a huge success and now in its fourth year it continues to be an invaluable element of the company’s ongoing success. The company has recently completed the latest edition of the week and GamCrowd took the opportunity to speak to Eriksson about how the employees responded and how it plays into the company’s overall reputation for new thinking in gaming.
GamCrowd: What specific activities did you undertake in this year’s innovation week?
Per Eriksson: NetEnt’s innovation week combines inspiring key note speakers with workshops, creative sessions, seminars and importantly – lots of fun and engagement. It’s all about inspiring the NetEnt team in order to make sure the business is as creative and forward thinking as it possibly can be. Only then can we seek to stay one step ahead of our rivals in what is a fiercely competitive industry.
GamCrowd: What was the response from employees with regard to the week’s events?
Per Eriksson: It only takes a walk around the office during innovation week to see just how much of a positive effect this process has on the company. The response really has been fantastic year after year and we have been receiving good vibes, great ideas and lots of engagement both during the week and in the days after. It’s also fantastic to see such great cooperation and cross-team interaction, different specialities and mindsets complement each other and the outcome of their work and ideas are impressive.
GamCrowd: Are you hoping to gain greater recognition of the innovative nature of NetEnt from doing a week like this? Is this an area where you suffer from a degree of under-appreciation?
Per Eriksson: Innovation is woven into NetEnt’s DNA; without it we wouldn’t have gone on to achieve what we have today. We believe it’s important to create an inspiring environment that evaluates and inspire the whole NetEnt team into an innovative mind set. In fact, we are all really excited as this year we started to develop and deliver our first Virtual Reality (VR) slot game. The use of VR is a growing trend among consumers and research shows that online players are starting to look for alternative, more immersive gaming experiences. We are always on the pulse when it comes to technology advancements and we believe that WebVR technology will soon be mature enough for us to make our dreams a reality.
GamCrowd: What will you be doing in the future to foster innovation at NetEnt?
Per Eriksson: NetEnt uses a range of dedicated channels to help boost innovation, such as NetEnt X, which is a monthly event that gives employees a chance to develop their ideas by giving them an entire day during the working week to develop them. Meanwhile, NetEnt Den offers a take on Dragons’ Den, an annual competition where employees pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, with the winners awarded a trip to G2E in Las Vegas. NetEnt also runs an Innovation Jackpot. Those that think up the ideas that prove the most lucrative for NetEnt are then rewarded.