The Power of Team

The Power of Team, Continued… In the last few weeks I have been focusing my blog posts around the partnerships in IGDA. I began with some of the external partnerships, and then moved on to staff. In this post I want to bring a very important group of partners to the fore, and that is the Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These groups are members and some non-members led by one or more member volunteers, that are focused on a specific area, be it education, production, writing, etc. These are folks who are getting things done.

One of the most important aspects of associations is the concept that we are not involved in a “Zero Sum Game”. This means that one party does not need to take from another to increase their own satisfaction. By working as part of a collective effort associations achieve dramatically more than the sum of their individual efforts. One of my mentors, John Healy, an association veteran, used the acronym T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves More). Sure I thought it was hokey, but it is also true.

Let me tell you what the SIGs have been up to lately. I should point out that recently a number of the SIGs have also been going through a bit of transition, so if they are not mentioned here, it’s mainly due to their focus on what’s coming next, not that they have been inactive.

The Quality of Life SIG, led by Judy Tyrer has loaded the “final” version of their Quality of Life Survey into the survey tool IGDA has acquired. (Blatant Plug: MEMBERS: If you haven’t filled out the member satisfaction survey, go do it. This is the report that we’ll be using to make decisions for the next 2-4 years.) When the Member Satisfaction Survey comes down, we’ll be sending out the links to the Quality of Life survey and looking forward to your comments there. The QoL group is also working on some interesting shirt/poster concepts to get the word out about their positions.

The Education SIG, led by Susan Gold has been very active. They have given a number of industry talks at various conferences aimed at bringing the education community a better understanding of their role in the IGDA and what the association can bring to them. They have also been rewriting the content for the Breaking In section of the IGDA website: http://www.igda.org/breakingin which should be released with the new website. Finally, they are putting together the education summit for GDC and getting people and studios signed up for this year’s global game jam.

Next up is the Production SIG, led by Heather Chandler. Their BIG item right now is the Leadership Forum for 2009. I have looked over the program content and I think there are some top shelf speakers lined up. As an association guy, I am pleased to see the amount of networking opportunities for leaders that have been planned into the program. In many industries, these types of event are as much known for the great ideas that come from speaking with other folks who share the same issues and challenges you do as they are for the speaker content. (Blatant Plug #2: We are offering a group registration discount this year for 5 or more people, $25 off the registration price if you register at the same time. So if your friends are going, sign up early and sign up together!) For more info and the program and schedule head on over to the Leadership Forum section of the IGDA website: http://www.igda.org/leadership/

The Localization SIG, led by Tom Edwards, is working on some great stuff with GDC. They have organized and launched the first ever Game Localization Summit at GDC 2009, which met all expectations. They are therefore following it up with a number of game localizations meetings/talks at GDC Europe. Continuing eastward into the rising sun, they are partnering with IGDA – Japan to work on some localization initiatives there, and finally returning back to the US for GDC 2010 in CA with a localization effort there as well.

The Women in Games SIG, led by Fiona Cherbak is working on quite a few things: developing a Games2Girls Program with the Game Research Lab department at Columbia, an Indie Women’s Game Design Competition in conjunction with Indiecade, a Women in Games Preservation Committee, and celebrating the launch of GameMentorOnline in cooperation with WiGI.

Then there is the Writers SIG, led by Wendy Despain, who is setting up for GDC Austin and their annual summit. I look forward to joining them and learning more about the industry and writing for game development. This group has also put the infrastructure together to launch the magazine as you may be aware. I am currently working with them to see how soon we can make this a fiscally viable option and member benefit.

I close with some folks who do a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes. The Quality Assurance SIG, led by Sheri Rubin has put together an excellent meeting at GDC and is putting together a bit of infrastructure to launch their plans for total global domination! Oops, Sheri, did I say that out loud?

Seriously though, it is the volunteers, both the leaders and the folks getting the job done. Thank all of you for your hard work, and keep it up, you’re doing great.

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