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Entertainment Media Company:
Recapturing the Corporate Culture for Growth into New Areas

Developing the Global Content Business

[Rovio Entertainment] Espoo, Finland

Rovio’s office design concept varies from floor to floor. While the design and layout are based on the designers’ basic concepts, the staff are able to change the space according to their needs. This is their secret of creating a comfortable workplace.

The suburban Helsinki office of Rovio Entertainment features the colorful world of the Angry Birds game which made the company famous. “The office motif is a bird’s nest, with the characters from the game scattered around,” says Office Design Manager Johanna Seppälä.

Rovio has never stopped even after Angry Birds became an international hit. They have expanded their business into the licensing of their toys and T-shirts, publishing, advertising, movies and other multi-media ventures. The company saw rapid growth, expanding from the initial 80 to current 560 employees.
In order to keep the company concept and value intact, Rovio decided to do the office design in-house.

“We must not forget innocence, and the idea that work has to be fun,” Ms. Seppälä says.

“People are, like birds, living in the nature and we want to our staff to be aware of that.It is very important for us.”

The office has the workspace, meeting rooms, a kitchen and a good sized theater. Employees’ dress code is casual, while the atmosphere is very relaxed and at home. This workstyle has helped the employees to understand and share Rovio’s story and values.

This doesn’t mean that the office design has been standardized. The office is located in a building which consists of four towers and every department is dotted in different towers and floors. Because of the company’s rapid growth, departments have been allocated to wherever space is available in the building.

Ms. Seppälä decided to take an advantage of this situation, she gave each floor its own character and color scheme.

The opinion and taste of each department are very much reflected in the design. Based on Ms. Seppälä’s original design, each team customized its own space. For example, the games studio has a games room with pool tables, while the book team has a spacious study. There are many skilled artists and graphic designers working in Rovio, and they appreciated the freedom to design their workspace and this has increased their productivity.

Reception area. On the wall is a print of the Angry Birds game screen.

Founded: 2003
Sales: €75.4 million(in 2012)
Current profits: €48 million(in 2012)
Employees: Approximately 600(in 2013)

The animation studio, home to the department creating game videos and original animated films.

The Zen room, a tatami-matted meeting room with a Zen motif.

  • The floor housing Marketing, Legal and the PR team. Some employees use scooters to move around the office.

  • Rest area. Much of the furniture, reflecting the nature-consciousness of the company, is order-made from recycled wood.

  • In the cinema room, meetings are held, as are movie screenings after work.

  • The publications team office. Yellow is the basic color of this floor, making it a comfortable place to work.

While they have the comfort of the “nest,” Rovio is also very open to and make use of new and sometimes radical ideas from outside sources. “More than anything, ideas are essential,” says, Vesa Ylhäinen, Associate Producer. “Everyone has the ability to come up with ideas. We do take up any ideas that we think worth trying.”

Programmers, designers and usability specialists are all working together, collaborating beyond their departments. Also ME310 program enables Rovio to collaborate on various research and development projects with national and international universities and research institutes.

“When we began the licensing business, other game companies warned us that we should concentrate on development,” says Antti Sonninen, Director of Rovio Japan. “But we strongly felt that we were innovating the entertainment business. Nobody else was doing it, so we saw an opportunity.”

At the time, there was no employee who had appropriate background in licensing or marketing, so Rovio hired industry experts for the staff training.

Many employees were familiar with design thinking, so they were keen to learn. The company also recruite prospective and enthusiastic students as well as those with experiences. As the company keeps growing, the importance on the human resources cannot be more emphasized.

“Everything is very fast here”, says Ms Seppara. “Things that would take one month for a normal company to complete can be done in a week at Rovio.” Rovio has always been brave and has been ahead of other companies with its employees going forward together as a group.

Rovio’s brand strength has also grown remarkably. In the past, active sales operation was necessary and they had to keep making proposals to the clients. However, according to Mr. Sonninen, “Today proposals are arriving at our doors on a daily basis, so we no longer have to do the traditional sales activities. All we have to do now is to pick up what we think would work for us.”

Flexibility, open-mindness and integrity – these are the aspects behind Rovio’s innovation.

From WORKSIGHT 04(June, 2013)

The Game Studio, game room and pool tables are arranged on the floor.

People wanted a space like a den where they could work, so one was created on this floor. It’s used for breaks or quick meetings.

Original products using Angry Birds characters. A shop was opened in the first floor of the Rovio building in February, 2013.

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