I’m delighted to take up a position with the IEL, as Program Manager for our Think Tank. This is an exciting time within esports and is an ideal opportunity to further explore and shape this growing industry. Esports is still relatively young, in the grand scheme of business and commerce. Many gamers (myself included!) see it as something fun, where the social interaction and use of technology fuses our need to engage with fantasy. The virtual worlds in which we operate often provide us with escape, a means to escape reality in a safe environment. Likewise, the attraction to connect with people all over the world is powerful and any language barriers and cultural differences are often broken down where common goals and rules are shared.
That said, it is serious business, too. There is still much to be done within esports. Aspects of governance, regulation and policy remain unfiltered where we need clarity and transparency. Issues of equality and education need to be identified and solutions proposed to remove barriers and develop an open, fair and safe community for everyone. The need for effective leadership has never been more so, where people require confidence, resilience and determination in developing and building their leadership style. Every day, we see more individual gamers and teams, both professional and amateur, trying to build a portfolio in a global phenomenon that seems to be dominated by a select few. I firmly believe that there is room for everyone in this arena.
So, where does the IEL feature in this transient, colourful and exciting landscape?
The Think Tank will contribute towards the delivery of the IEL strategic vision, through a variety of activities that underpin our mission: to cultivate a corps of mindful, inclusive and effective leaders. We will design, undertake and publish research that enables the IEL to deliver its operational objectives through open reflection, advice and guidance within the esports industry. With a focus on leadership, we will explore the intersection between mentoring, coaching and gaming, where lessons learned can be reciprocated in a multidisciplinary arena throughout industry, commerce and other business areas. The Think Tank is the supporting catalyst and vehicle to underpin the wider activities of the IEL. When someone has a great idea, we help to make it a brilliant, workable and evidence informed concept.
I’ll be sharing some additional thoughts each week, as the Think Tank begins to take shape and our work becomes more engaging. By generating a rapid evidence assessment framework, we hope to map the international landscape, producing journal articles, reports and by attending gaming festivals and events. In my new role and as an Ambassador to the festival, I’ll be attending Resonate: Total Gaming in Glasgow at the end of July. If you see me there, please do come and say hello. Our people are crucial to our future success and we recognise the need to further build our expertise and experience through effective knowledge exchange and collaboration. If you feel that you have something to offer and you want to join us on our journey, we want to hear from you.