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In Good Company - Day In The Life

A day in the life - Dr Richard Wilson

07 Dec 2018


Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA

Dr Richard Wilson OBE lives in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, with his wife and three children. He is “younger than Prince Charles, but older than Prince Louis”, and has a PhD in politics.

What time does your alarm go off?

My alarm goes off at 5.35am, at which point I check my emails and BBC news. I get my children up in time for school and have breakfast with them, and after a strong coffee and a dry shredded wheat, I start work.

What are you responsible for?

Richard being interviewed on television by Natasha KaplinskyI am the CEO of TIGA and so I am responsible for the award-winning trade association representing the UK video games industry. As CEO of TIGA, I have delivered 10 years of profitable growth, more than doubled turnover, won 25 business awards and commendations and been awarded Investors in People status three times.

How did you get your job?

My ambition was to drive, manage and lead a trade association – TIGA – because it combines three activities that really interest me – games, business and politics. Once I knew the role was available I pulled out all the stops to get the gig. Fortunately I was successful!

Describe your typical day?

A typical day will involve the following. After checking and responding to any urgent emails I will read BBC news, the FT, the Times and the trade press. I will also scan proceedings in Parliament. If there is a story relevant to our industry then we will put out a release and comments on our social media platforms.

Each morning I review progress towards achieving our strategic objectives and take action accordingly.

After this I will speak to my team. At TIGA we operate a virtual company and we all work remotely and so it is vital that we communicate effectively to ensure operational efficiency. A virtual business allows me to recruit the best people and to operate efficiently.

I organise my meetings for late mornings and lunch times. I will meet MPs and civil servants to represent our industry effectively and to advance our industry’s campaigns. I will also meet key partners, for example, this could be a university partner (TIGA operates a University Accreditation scheme); a sponsor of the TIGA Games Industry Awards; and of course games developers and service providers.

In the afternoons I turn my attention to written work. TIGA is the thought leader for the sector, so we carry out original research into our industry, write policy papers and submit responses to Government as part of our campaign to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games.

I typically catch up with my team again at the end of the day to discuss progress and any issues. I organise my telephone calls for the end of the day and I respond to the day’s emails. Finally, I will review our progress. I will then spend some time on my other non-TIGA interests and of course spend some time with my family.

Most memorable moment?

My most memorable moment was when our seven-year campaign for Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) was finally authorized in 2014 by the EU Commission. In the process, TIGA published 12 reports; gave 203 media interviews; issued 162 press releases; and met 53 MPs. We convinced four political parties, three governments and one EU Commission to back VGTR.

Richard discussing the video games industry with John Wittingdale OBE MPSince it was introduced in 2014, our industry has been growing 7% p.a., creating scores of studios, thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of additional investment. By running a determined, energetic and focused campaign, we ensured that the UK can compete on a level playing field and be the best place in the world to develop games. This is good for games, for our industry and for our wider UK economy.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

The best piece of advice that I have read was by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

What are the best things about your job?

My job combines three fascinating aspects: games, business and politics. TIGA represents the video games industry, and as such my job involves games which are fascinating, and involve creativity, technology and fascinating people.

I am also required to grow and lead the business, which is absorbing, exciting and fulfilling. My job also involves politics, because I am actively involved in representing the UK video games industry to Government, meeting MPs and working with civil servants.

A crucial part of my jobs is to make the UK the best place in the world to develop video games. This is an exciting goal and I am fortunate to work with a great team at TIGA, a great Board and a great network for TIGA members.

How do you unwind after work?

As a CEO it’s very easy for work to become all encompassing. It’s important to have a hinterland. I enjoy swimming, the gym, reading history, literature, playing video games like Civilisation and watching TV series like Game of Thrones. Yet the best way to unwind is playing and spending time with my family.

Where do you go for personal &/or professional advice?

In addition to my family, I have a network of friends in the video games industry, in business, education and in politics that I go to for personal and advice. I am also fortunate to have a talented and helpful Board of Directors at TIGA and a talented team that I work with. I also use the resources of the IoD and the CMI.

What do you attend/read/watch to get ideas and inspiration?

I get ideas and inspiration from my excellent team, from my network of contacts and from reading.

How do you stay productive throughout the day?

I deal with the most complicated and demanding issues first thing in the mornings when I am at my most creative. I organise my meetings for late mornings and lunch times. In the afternoons I turn my attention to written work. I organize my telephone calls for the end of the day and I deal with my emails in chunks at set times during the day. I also swim and gym – this helps me to stay productive.

What would have been your alternative career?

I would probably have forged some sort of career in politics, as per my Masters and PhD qualifications.

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