Often when organizations want to start with a knowledge management program, they are looking for a clear and recognizable best practice everybody can refer to. The Olympic Games might just be that recognizable example of good practice everybody in your organization can relate to. For courses or workshops I often use this example, often leading to enthusiastic engagements form the participants.
The IOC, International Olympic Committee, runs a professional program with the name “Olympic Games Knowledge Management” (OGKM). The business case is clear, the transfer of knowledge from the current to the next organizer is crucial. This entails all traditional elements of intellectual capital; technical reports, documentation on logistics, lessons learned, critical intelligence, management insights and lessons learned.
The initial thinking of is as old as the first serious theory of KM from the mid-nineties. During the preparation of the Sydney (2000) the KM program was created and makes use of an integrated platform for services and documentation. The purpose was to provide a solid mechanism of knowledge sharing between the current and the next organizer. There are official debriefings and the manuals are not just given to the next lot, but supported with good personal advice.
The observer program in Vancouver brought the observers from Sotchi valuable hands-on experience and in-sight information. On this turn in Sotchi more than 350 representatives from future Olypmics, up to 2022, have experienced how to organize activities and functional areas. (Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, and Tokyo 2020) and five Applicant Cities for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 (Krakow, Oslo, Almaty, Lviv and Beijing).
This transfer of knowledge is unique an very much in line with the Olympic spirit. It is also possible to adjust and copy it to all sorts of organizations. The Olympics are once again a true source of inspiration.