Monday, 24 February 2014

KM at Sochi

Sochi Olympics Adler 07 by rapidtravelchai
Sochi Olympics Adler 07, a photo by rapidtravelchai on Flickr
showing early stages of construction in 2007.
The Olympic games has, for nearly 20 years, relied on Knowledge Management as an important tool, and a recent article shows that the Winter Games at Sochi were no different.

In many ways, the Olympic Games is the sort of activity where KM can add the greatest value. A intermittent activity, happening every four years, involving huge expense and unprecedented public scrutiny, and conducted each time by a different team, relies on the effective transfer of knowledge and experience from Games to Games.

Even though every games operates in a different context, and it would be so easy to say "Yes, but it will all be different in China/Russia/Korea etc", at the same time every Games faces the same basic challenges of construction, transport, accommodation, media coverage and so on.

KM for the Olympic Games is a well balanced mix of developing documented guidance, and arranging interactions from one games to another (thus covering the twin KM elements of Collecting and Connecting) as well as a support network of experts with Games experience ho are able to advise future games about the application of the knowledge.

Each of the games has an individual to act as KM coordinator - in Sochi's case this was Alexander Bryantsev, who reports on the "Learning Before" that Sochi was able to do through the Olympic Observer Program.
  “For me and many of our colleagues this experience was invaluable. This observer programme offered us a chance to see for ourselves how the Winter Games are organised, how the whole thing is done from within and how the whole system is managed.” 
Sochi is passing on its own experience to future games, through hosting it's own observer program for more than 370 participants from three Organising Committees (Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020) and five Applicant Cities for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 (Almaty, Beijing, Krakow, Lviv and Oslo).

Here is what Jerry Ling, the PyeongChang 2018 head of Games coordination, says.
 “The transfer of knowledge is a very unique and wonderful opportunity for us host cities to learn about the best practices. From there, we will learn what we think has been very successful in Sochi, and from there we will also transfer our knowledge internally".
Any activity such as this - intermittent, high cost, carried out by different teams - deserves a KM program, and the IOC KM program shows not just how this can be done, but also the value that it delivers. As the Executive Director of the  International Olympic Committee, Gilbert Felli, says
“We believe that transfer of knowledge is essential for an Organising Committee to be able to deliver the Games.”

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