In the ever changing world of the betting and gaming industry, companies must ensure that they constantly innovate or they face getting left behind, according to Maarja Pärt.
In Episode 4 of The SBC Leaders Podcast our Global Relationships Director, Kelly Kehn, sat down in conversation with Maarja Pärt, CEO of crypto gaming firm The Coingaming Group, to get her thoughts on growing with and beyond cryptocurrencies, creating and maintaining company culture, and what she’s learned since becoming one of the industry’s only female CEOs.
Maarja tells Kelly about her ‘Unicorn Farm’ and the role it plays in cultivating Coingaming’s famous culture of innovation, and gives some great insight on the leadership role of a CEO, including the importance of owning up to her own mistakes, learning from difficult situations in the past, and how your perspective changes when you realise the buck stops with you.
The Coingaming Group CEO detailed the strong focus that the crypto-gaming firm places on innovation and ‘pioneering’ as part of its wider corporate strategy.
Notable initiatives include a separate investment fund called the ‘Unicorn Farm’, part of the group’s wider venture funds division, which is dedicated to supporting in-house projects and innovative programmes.
Employees can invest into the fund themselves on discounted terms, with the long-term goal of creating an environment in which all can participate in innovative projects and campaigns.
Pärt also highlighted Hub88 – a lightweight integration platform- as another example of its innovative approach. Initially starting out as a hackathon project, Hub88 is now completely independent, has a separate structure and, according to Pärt, is ‘working fantastically and complimenting’ Coingaming Group.
The CEO remarked: “I would say that innovation in general is a very broad term, and it’s something that is a hot topic across all industries currently. We prefer to use the term ‘pioneering’ and this has always been a key part of our DNA.
“It stems from our need to constantly evolve our products, as well as need to stay one step ahead of the competition, and obviously we need to meet the ever changing needs of our customer base, which has obviously been growing at a very fast pace.
“I would say that being able to grow is actually such an important part of innovation, as once you stop innovating you will be very quickly left behind. The world in general, but also the gaming industry, is changing constantly, so in my personal opinion not to drive forward would be to stagnate.”
Discussions soon turned towards the idea that ‘Coingamers really wish to pursue their passion projects, and innovation has been very natural,’ with Pärt arguing that ‘it’s easy to get carried away with day to day tests, innovation is important but it is very crucial to have a good balance’.
An example of this balance, she argued, was Google’s approach to pioneering, which sees the internet giant set a target of operating practices versus innovation and radical projects, dedicating 70%, 20% and 10% of time and resources to each area respectively.
Pärt believes that Coingaming has ‘organically achieved this as well,’ having recently launched its innovation centre to develop a constantly creative and developing environment, and initiate new ideas within the business itself.