Robert Coppola: Innovation starts in your own backyard

TAGs: Aristocrat, CAI, Robert Coppola

In this interview with’s Becky Liggero, Robert Coppola of Aristocrat shares how the company is able to come up with cutting-edge offerings for operators and players.

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The next big idea can be found anywhere: on the streets that you passed by on your daily commute; in restaurants, where the most interesting people converge to discuss their everyday lives or exchange views in business, politics, and even entertainment.

Sometimes, the next big idea can be found right in your backyard and people don’t even recognize it.

Robert Coppola of Aristocrat said operators should always have an internal program to promote and inspire innovation since there is always a possibility that the big idea is just waiting to be dug up like treasure.

Aristocrat came up with an internal innovation accelerator called ThinkBigger. The program allows employees in nine different countries to submit game ideas to the company, according to Coppola.

To help balance their normal workload, Coppola said the company extends help to these would-be innovators, especially those who don’t have the technological know-how.

“It really depends who is really submitting the ideas. In the case of a game designer, we allow them to make their ideas full time,” Coppola explained. “If it is someone, for example, an HR who wants to build a mobile app, and is not technical, we’ll find someone who can, whether it is an internal resource or outside resource, and we’ll involve them as the overseer of the project.”

This year alone, Coppola noted that at least 500 employees had submitted their ideas to the company. The company sifted through these submissions and took closer looks at at least 70 ideas. In the end, Coppola said 15 ideas were given funds to prove their concepts.

Three of the concepts were shown in the recent G2E Summit in Las Vegas while the remaining 12 other ideas “will be done” by the end of the year, according to Coppola.

“It is a global program and we basically encourage employees around the world to submit innovative ideas. That wouldn’t be business as usual,” he said. “The response from our operators who have been visiting our booth for our games is overwhelming. We have a virtual reality product and an augmented reality product, really receptive to that. Not only that we are doing this types of concepts but the fact this program exists encourages innovation. The company and the industry have tremendous response to that as well.”


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