OGKM: Learning from experience

The IOC’s Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM) programme ensures that future host cities have access to the latest knowledge that has been gained from the hard work and experience of previous Games hosts. Here, Olympic.org talks to Chris Pollard.

Q. How helpful has the OGKM programme been?
A. Over the lifespan of London 2012, the OGKM programme has been invaluable in helping LOCOG learn from the experiences of previous Games and obtain best practice from other Olympic Games experts and advisors.

Q. Can you outline some of the things you have learnt from the OGKM programme?
A. There have been numerous examples of learnings that have influenced LOCOG’s plans, but the Vancouver Observer Programme was perhaps the area where I personally learnt the most. This included strategic elements such as the importance of integrated working and development of stakeholder relationships, to detailed operational matters such as the optimal layout and design or airport accreditation desks.

Q. What aspect of the OGKM programme have you found most valuable?
A. The Observer Programme and OGKM workshops stand out as the most valuable elements. The relationships formed with other OCOGs through the OGKM programme allow further follow-up and collaboration between Functional Area counter-parts which can really help develop best practice.

Q. At what stages of the Games process have you been able to draw on OGKM resources?
A. Different OGKM resources are more relevant at different phases. The Technical Manuals are very useful in the bidding phase, and less relevant in the last year of planning before the Games. The optimal time for using OGKM resources is in the period from around five to two years before the Games, when key early operational decisions are being made that can significantly impact the overall Games and client experience.

Q. What advice would you give future host cities about using the experiences of past OCOGs?
A. Make sure you understand the specific context of the Host City before using any experiences from previous Games. For example, using London 2012’s airport plans as the basis for planning in Rio 2016 might seem sensible on the surface, but when you understand that London 2012 was served by five different ports of entry, including four independent terminal operations at Heathrow, then the corresponding operations in Rio will need to be adapted significantly for the size, location and number of airports located there.

The London 2012 observer programme will see over 530 observers participate in 50 visits and 5 roundtables over 21 days. The visits will look at topics such as athlete experience, ceremonies, village operations, sport, and technology. This on site knowledge gathering then allows for more detailed discussions to take place during the Games debrief, which is normally held in the next host city of the Games. The London debriefing will be held in Rio de Janeiro in November this year.

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