The Knowledge Games
When a city first decides to bid for the Olympic Games, it is starting on a long and steep learning curve, which will take it from the early stages of planning to actually running one of the biggest peace-time events in the world. During that time, Games
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) works closely with the host cities and their local partners, right from the outset to ensure that they have access to the latest knowledge that has been gained from the hard work and experience of previous Games hosts. This IOC programme is known as Olympic Games Knowledge Management (OGKM).
IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Gilbert Felli noted the importance of the OGKM programme when he spoke to the Olympic Review last year: “Managing knowledge is at the core of our mission. Carefully documenting what Games organisers (OCOGs) do, sharing best practices and making available everything we've learnt from the recent past has become an invaluable support to the OCOGs and their partners. Successful knowledge management and transfer is about checking there is always enough high-quality oil in your engine. It enables you to perform and it contributes largely to organisational excellence. But it goes beyond the field of play and the event itself. It encompasses sustainability and legacy aspects, making sure that whatever is built for the Games is always designed with legacy in mind.
OGKM provides a number of different services to the Games organisers including workshops and seminars – about 20 to 30 are held each year on topics such as telecoms technology, signage and sustainability -, a network of advisers with Games experience that the OCOGs are able to call upon throughout their lifecycle, and access to a dedicated extranet containing invaluable insight and information in the form of interviews, Olympic Games Knowledge Reports, Technical Manuals and other documentation, such as venue information and post-Games analysis.
However, perhaps one of the most important aspects of the OGKM programme is the ability for future organisers to gain hands-on experience by participating in secondee and observer programmes – for example, over 530 observers will participate in the London 2012 observer programme. 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.
In comments to the Olympic Review last year, London 2012’s Chris Pollard underlined the close collaboration that is built up between the different organisers and the IOC thanks to the OGKM programme: "Over the years I've been working at LOCOG we've developed really close and strong relationships with the IOC team in charge of coordinating the Olympic Games knowledge management platform. That's been helped by them being proactive. They've hosted some really valuable knowledge-sharing sessions, in particular collaborating with Rio 2016 and Sochi 2014 to ensure we all share ideas. They've listened to us as well - and adapted the processes to be more efficient for us and for future OCOGs."
However, OGKM doesn’t just include passing on the experience and knowledge gained in the past, it also looks to the future and new trends and consumption modes, as well as new methods and technology. Working hand-in-hand with OCOGs and all other partners, the IOC strives to understand and define the parameters of future editions of the Games.
Thanks to these different elements, the IOC fulfils its aim of helping bid cities and Organising Committees to develop their own vision and understand how a host city and its citizens can benefit from the long-lasting impact of the Games, while managing the opportunities and risks that such an event produces.