August 3, 2016

Setting the Stage for the Olympic Games

The Olympic Games are the greatest sporting event on Earth. It brings together the best athletes from around the world and attracts millions of spectators. For the athletes, the Games offer them the chance to compete at the very highest level in their chosen disciplines and this is more often than not, the highlight of their sporting careers. The Olympic host city is on display for the rest of the world and during the course of the 16 days of the contests, the city has the opportunity to show the world what makes them great. When the games start this week, we at home will be able to sit back and enjoy watching the competition and cheer on our home countries. However, for the host city, Rio, the planning of this event has been 10 years in the making. While some may argue that they probably did not make use of those 10 years in the best way, just being selected as the host city took up almost 2 of those 10 years.


A large scale event like the Olympics cannot be possible without the right amount of ground work. Much like our consulting projects, which cannot be successful without the proper foundation. The process for a city to be selected as the host city is a rigorous one and the process begins 10 years before the Olympics will even take place During the Invitation Phase, potential Candidate Cities are invited to attend a workshop to discuss their initial ideas with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This is very similar to when we first meet our clients. When we are discussing if our services and the needs of a client are a mutual fit, we need to learn about what is trying to be accomplished and we need to show how our ideas can help our clients succeed.

Following the Invitation Phase, cities which have taken the decision to bid for an Olympic Games enter the official Olympic Candidature Process. This spans a period of two years culminating in the Host City Election by the IOC. During this 2 year period, the candidate cities will go through 3 stages, which are:

  1. Vision, Games Concept and Strategy
  2. Governance, Legal and Venue Funding
  3. Games Delivery, Experience and Venue Legacy

At the end of each stage, each city will submit a set of deliverables to the IOC, then IOC  narrows down the field based on those deliverables.  These stages are very similar to the first three steps we go through in our consulting process.


“This phase is the strategic analysis phase, during which Candidate Cities put together their Games vision, concept and legacy plans. During this stage cities build national support from stakeholders and the general public, whilst developing firm foundations and putting together a solid concept that meets the long term development and legacy plans for the city and region, with a strong emphasis on sustainability.”

This aligns with our stage 1 of working on a project with a client, which is our kickoff phase. Our kickoff stage sets expectations, high level timelines, and introduces our team. We communicate how we will work together with our communication plan which sets client and consultant roles, responsibilities and contact information. We’ll finalize the project timeline and talk about how we will succeed together.


“This phase ensures that cities have the necessary legal and financial mechanisms in place to host the Olympic Games. The IOC-appointed Evaluation Commission Working Group will focus on reviewing proposed governance structures, legal elements and political, private and public support for the project in order to determine the challenges and opportunities related to each project.”

This stage aligns with the next step in our consulting journey, which is the current state phase. Current state is the phase in which we discover and assess the issues at hand. This is a critical phase for the project as it exposes problem areas and thus, sets up areas on which to target the solution.


“This stage analyses how Candidate Cities will deliver the Games and ensure a sustainable legacy. The IOC Evaluation Commission will focus on reviewing the Games operations to ensure successful delivery. It will also review legacy planning and the Games experience for all stakeholders, with a focus on the athlete experience to determine the challenges and opportunities in the abovementioned areas.”

This stage aligns with the next step in our consulting process, which is the design phase. In this phase, we provide our clients with a detailed account of the proposed solution including a project background, issues, and how they are to be addressed with the design

When the Olympics kick off this week, I’ll be watching, but I’ll also be thinking about the foundation that Rio had to set up to arrive at this point.