KNOWLEDGE TRANSFEROLYMPIC REVIEW63knowledge management and transfer is aboutchecking there is always enough high-quality oil inyour engine. It enables you to perform and itcontributes largely to organisational excellence. But itgoes beyond the field of play and the event itself. Itencompasses sustainability and legacy aspects,making sure that whatever is built for the Games isalways designed with legacy in mind."Knowledge Transfer also goes further than merelyassisting Organising Committees. As Philippe Furrer,who heads the Olympic Games KnowledgeManagement (OGKM) programme at the IOC, explains:"Who knows what the world will be like in 20 years? It requires the IOC to remain on top of things, to beaware of new trends and consumption modes, as wellas new methods and technology. Working hand-in-hand with OCOGs and all other partners helps usunderstand and define the parameters of futureeditions of the Games."The IOC's platform of knowledge services aims tohelp bid cities and Organising Committees developtheir own vision and understand how a host city andits citizens can benefit from the long-lasting impact of the Games, while managing the opportunities andrisks that such an event produces. The programmeconsists of three main elements: services, personalexperience and information. SERVICESThe services include workshops and seminars, as wellas a network of advisers with Games experience thatthe OCOGs are able to call upon throughout theirlifecycle. OCOGs can take advantage of a series oftailor-made and interactive workshops and seminarsrun by advisers and held in the host city. There are 20 to 30 held each year on topics such as telecomstechnology, signage and sustainability.PERSONAL EXPERIENCEOCOGs are also able to gain personal experience onGames preparations and operations, which isinvaluable for their learning process. One of the bestways this can be achieved is through the secondmentprogramme, in which members of OCOGs take short-term positions at another Organising Committeeduring Games time. ?
64OLYMPIC REVIEWKNOWLEDGE TRANSFERChris Payne from the London 2012 OrganisingCommittee (LOCOG) was in Vancouver in 2010. "Theexperience was hugely valuable for many reasons, butI think two stand out," says Payne. "First, theorganisation of the Olympic Games is more art thanscience, with so many subtleties driven by such acomplex stakeholder community. Experience is hugelybeneficial in dealing with this. Furthermore, I think thebest way to learn is to assume responsibility and takeon a role, rather than visit and observe."Payne says the biggest lesson he learnt was toexpect the unexpected: "I was shocked by how littlesnow ended up on the ground at Cypress Mountaingiven the amount that was there just a couple ofmonths before. The process that the VancouverOrganising Committee (VANOC) went through to dealwith this threw up a huge amount of learning. "Perhaps the biggest single lesson was theimportance of a willing 'can-do' attitude. No oneaspect is more important than any other; everything is interconnected in delivering such a complex event and everyone must be willing to help everyoneelse, at all levels."Also important is the Observer Programme, whereselected members of future OCOGs visit during aGames to get a glimpse behind the scenes. Theprogramme starts before the opening of the Gamesand concludes after the Games are over, which allowsthe observers to view the crucial arrival and departureprocesses. The value of these visits is huge: it may be the only time some members of the teams witnessthe organisation of the Games before hosting their own edition. During Vancouver 2010, there were over 300observers from the current Organising Committees(London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016), theOrganising Committee for the 2012 Youth OlympicGames in Innsbruck, and even the three applicantcities for the Olympic Winter Games in 2018. Keymembers of VANOC led the visits and the elements ofthe programme were created to suit the particularneeds of the observers. Sebastian Coe, Chairman ofLOCOG, says he used the event to "look and learn, andsoak up every last piece of knowledge to help us withour planning - and the golden rule of staging anOlympic Games is that you can never plan too much."Another way in which knowledge is transferred isvia a Games Debriefing, held after the close of eachedition of the Games. This seminar is always held inthe city to next host the Games (winter or summer)and provides a forum for all parties to holdconstructive discussions and exchange informationthat will help them prepare for future Olympic Games. The IOC's Vancouver Debriefing was held in June2010 in Sochi, Russia, which will host the 2014Olympic Winter Games, and members of the Sochi, Rio and London OCOGs were all in attendance, aswell as the three applicant cities for 2018 and anumber of stakeholder representatives (athletes,International Federations, National OlympicCommittees, partners, media).The 32 debrief sessions revolved around fivegeneral themes -Inspire & Engage, Team-Up & Test,Embrace & Achieve, Experience & Learn and Innovate& Promote -and permitted frank, open and detaileddiscussions on all the different services offered toOlympic stakeholders, including athletes, spectators,partners and the media. The aim of the Debriefing,however, is not to provide a standard template foreach future host to follow. Rather, it is intended toencourage future hosts to build on the successes oftheir predecessors, while staying true to their owncultures and identities. It does not seek to imposesolutions on other Games, but rather to show optionsand possibilities that up-coming organisers cananalyse to see if they fit into their own unique context.LOCOG's Chris Pollard was impressed with theevent: "It's a very rich environment - it's really wellstructured to provide a formal platform for showinglessons learnt from each Games. Knowledge Transfercan be done both through the formal sessions and alsothrough the informal networking with counterparts:people facing similar challenges in different cities andcultures and contexts. The fact that everyone comestogether in one place provides enormously valuableknowledge sharing opportunities."INFORMATIONIn addition to personal experiences, workshops andseminars, the IOC provides OCOGs with access to a dedicated extranet containing invaluable insight andinformation in the form of interviews, Olympic GamesKnowledge Reports, Technical Manuals and otherdocumentation, such as venue information and post-Games analysis. The IOC updates its Technical Manuals after each Games edition. The content represents the IOC's best understanding of any specific theme at a given moment in time. There are currently 33manuals, on subjects such as design standards forcompetition venues, ceremonies, food and beverage,and finance. Each one is filled with the fine details,including: contractual requirements, technicalobligations, planning information, procedures andprocesses, and the proven practices regarding anygiven function of the organisation of the Games. In addition, Olympic Games Knowledge Reports areproduced by each OCOG at four set times during theirseven-year lifecycle. There is a separate report for each subject - around 70 in total - ranging fromaccommodation to workforce training. They containtechnical and organisational information about theGames from the viewpoint of the organisers - thismight include scale and scope data, supplier detailsand recommendations.Far rightThe2008 ObserverProgramme inBeijing gaveother OCOGs thechance toexperience theGames first-handRightHostingduties werepassed fromBeijing to Londonduring the Beijing2008 ClosingCeremony