Creative Leadership

Me, Petter, Malena and Anita discussing something interesting over a drink during Creative Coast Festival. Photo by Sebastian Bularca (who also discussed)

I have been responsible for creative endeavours since I started making games. First as a solo developer, then as a two-man team, all the way up to leading teams of 15 and preparing projects for up to 50 people.

I have worked as Game Director and Project Manager, and at times both at the same time, to lead teams through several projects. This includes setting up pipelines for ideas, setting up creative overarching goals, building and communicating vision and giving feedback to all work created, either directly or through a structure of discipline / core directors.

Creative leadership is something I have learned through experience, and something I am deeply passionate about. I love to explore ideas and solve difficult problems, but I also know the limits of my capabilities and skills to articulate and create.

A single person can’t make as much as a well put together and well working team. I don’t believe in the creative genius archetype as a sustainable factor for making impressive and unique creations.

What I do believe in is someone working with vision, making room for discussions and reviewing and feedbacking work to create coherency in creative issues.

As Game Director at Forgotten Key, I have been responsible both for my own game ideas, and for projects we have done as work-for-hire for clients. I have always welcomed an open atmosphere, and one main objective for me has been to encourage and distribute creative responsibilities in my team.

By using design pillars, themes, taste maps, high level vision documents, descriptions of player journeys, and feedback, I have worked to imbue the creative values of the project at hand into every team member as well as communicating vision and creative goals to external partners.

Every development task has a great many open questions that need answers as it’s being completed. By focusing on experience goals and vision, instead of putting too much effort into detailed design instructions, a lot of the creative work and detailed design decisions are transferred to the person working to complete the task.

That creative autonomy given to the developer creates room to grow and a feeling of responsibility, as well as makes it possible for more team members to study the creative goals and shine light on them from different new angles. I find that this diversity adds quality to the gestalt of a project, while the high level creative management makes the creation coherent and focused.