How to find a new organization and make sure it can continue sustainably without you?

The greatest challenge to establishing something new generally isn’t setting it up. It’s making sure it doesn’t fall apart after a while. Funnily enough my background is in Civil Engineering, where we build bridges and dikes which preferably hold (safely) for over 50 or 100 years. In the case of Esports Team Twente (ETT), we luckily don’t have to worry about rising sea levels or soil stability, but we did have to anticipate the future of esports and how we can set up an innovative organization for many years to come.

Over the past 1,5 years, Idwer de Vries and I have been the general team managers of ETT. Together, we have structured the organization, formulated a vision and strategy for where we wish to go in the coming years and brought many people with a passion for esports and gaming together. Our challenge this year was twofold: how can we achieve as much as possible this year, while also making sure that ETT can continue when the founding team members are gone?

Step 1: Growth

Despite the hinderances COVID presented, ETT has been growing steadily throughout the year (probably somewhat related to the immense popularity of esports and gaming). As you can imagine, growth is absolutely vital for any organization, especially a new one like ETT. The many enthusiastic UT/Saxion students joining have enabled us to pursue projects we wouldn’t have put on the “year one” list (like setting up a minor!) and give us plenty of confidence we’ll have enough people interested in the coming years too.

Step 2: Maintain focus (on results)

You can probably relate to this: you pick up a supercool project that you work on enthusiastically for a while, which eventually runs out of steam before achieving concrete results. One of the dangers for our organization, which does not have a specific horizon to work towards, is that we commit to endless projects which take ages to complete.

To avoid this, we have opted for a result-driven strategy, where we primarily focus on short and small projects with a clear end goal in sight. This provides variety, plenty of interesting content and actual results we can build upon. Obviously, if our members prefer to fully commit to one long-term project that’s fine too, which is the case for some of our data analysts (the results of which we hope to share with you soon!).

Step 3: Structure and continuity

Currently most of our activities are aimed at structuring our organization and providing continuity for the coming years. Among others this means embedding ETT in the UT climate, working on interesting long-term projects (e.g. Royal Dutch Navy or the Esportslounge) and establishing a sequence of operations for the next managers. Our goal: end the year with a complete student-team-manual so that any group of motivated students could take over successfully and continue growing.

All in all, we’re very confident that Esports Team Twente is here to stay, especially when looking at the popularity of esports, all the things we have achieved in just our first year and the network we have built. Personally, I am a little jealous of the students that are starting here next year, with both gaming association Blueshell and ETT to look forward to, as well as the many amazing opportunities the UT offers to students who are willing to take initiative.

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