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Pandemic sparks new approaches by OCOGs

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Date
19 Nov 2020

The repercussions of the global COVID-19 pandemic have forced OCOGs, including their knowledge and information management experts, to adjust quickly to the new situation and come up with innovative solutions in their area. Naturally, these last months the public attention was focused on Tokyo 2020 due to the postponement of the Games to next year and the significant organisational and logistical challenges linked to this decision.

Tokyo 2020

In September it was announced that, in response to the postponement of this year’s Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been identified to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery. On their side, the IKM team of Tokyo 2020 also had to adapt to the new situation and review certain contracts, and may have to incorporate COVID-19 countermeasures into the Games Experience Programme (GEP), but otherwise moved on to progress with their plans.  Likewise, the other OCOGs have demonstrated good spirit, embraced new approaches and increased the use of digital tools. This has ensured continued progress in many fields, including the information, knowledge and learning space. Let’s take a closer look!

Beijing 2022

The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will now be held less than six months after Tokyo 2020, and its IKM team was quick in encouraging their 52 foreign experts, who are partly based outside China, to contribute in flexible ways to the Games preparations in these particular circumstances. During the last few months, those foreign advisors were involved in a total of 18 training sessions lasting 132 hours overall, covering venue design, track/course construction and competition organisation. Beijing 2022 has also further strengthened its cooperation with the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) to advance with projects related to its learning strategy. Since the beginning of 2020, three video courses have been developed to support online learning, and a remote workshop for competition venue secretaries general was held successfully via Skype. Other remote workshops held this year targeted venue general managers, sports managers and test event organising team members. Beijing 2022 has also continued to promote general and specific knowledge, and venue and job-specific training within its organisation. This year, it has already delivered 49 online training projects of over 496 hours, covering 5000 participants. Eleven of those training sessions were for National Technical Officials, and were attended by a total of 1,100 participants. In another innovative initiative, Beijing 2022 held an online ceremony to launch promotional videos about Paralympic winter sports, in which IPC President Andrew Parsons participated remotely. So far, 15 promotional videos of Olympic winter sports and six of Paralympic winter sports have been released to the public, which have received millions of clicks on China’s major websites.

To meet the needs of the current situation, Beijing’s IKM team will move forward with developing even more online resources for its staff and the public, including upgrading the online learning platform to a new edition named Beijing 2022 IKM Platform to optimise learning experience; selecting additional trainers to support customised online learning programmes for different audiences; and creating online classrooms to engage wider public audiences to learn about the Olympic Winter Games through creative formats.

Paris 2024

The global health crisis has also encouraged Paris 2024 to strengthen its use of digital tools. The OCOG accelerated the deployment of its Information Management System, which is based on a MS SharePoint/Teams environment, as well as its Learning Management System. Regarding the latter, the Paris 2024 IKL team has been working closely with its People Management (PEM) Team to develop a number of learning modules on the use of the Information Management System mentioned above and on Olympic and Paralympic expertise. In addition, parts of Paris 2024’s on-boarding process have been migrated to a digital platform. The postponement of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has also led Paris 2024 to review its traditional planning timelines by pushing back the launch of detailed operational planning in order to optimise the growth of the OCOG and the use of its resources.

Milano Cortina 2026

As everyone will remember, Italy was among the European countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak and, of course, this impacted the operations of Milano Cortina 2026. Between mid-February and the beginning of March, the whole country went into total lockdown. This came at a time when a small team had just started working together on organising the Milano Cortina 2026 Winter Games. They had just moved to the 28th floor of the iconic Pirelli skyscraper in front of Milan’s central railway station, before leaving their offices again for several months. This forced the OCOG to develop a new way of working. People who had never met in person before started to work together in the virtual world, exploiting new technologies, figuring out social interaction rules and respecting personal boundaries during meetings that took place on a screen. By mid-June, Milano Cortina 2026 staff moved back to their offices, aiming for the best balance between the maximum possible efficiency and the preservation of everyone's safety. Their effort of reconsidering day-by-day what can be changed to create a positive outcome hasn’t stopped!

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