I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Chris Payne from the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) was in Vancouver in 2010. “The experience was hugely valuable for many reasons, but I think two stand out,” says Payne. “First, the organisation of the Olympic Games is more art than science, with so many subtleties driven by such a complex stakeholder community. Experience is hugely beneficial in dealing with this. Furthermore, I think the best way to learn is to assume responsibility and take on a role, rather than visit and observe.” Payne says the biggest lesson he learnt was to expect the unexpected: “I was shocked by how little snow ended up on the ground at Cypress Mountain given the amount that was there just a couple of months before. The process that the Vancouver Organising Committee (VANOC) went through to deal with this threw up a huge amount of learning. “Perhaps the biggest single lesson was the importance of a willing ‘can-do’ attitude. No one aspect is more important than any other; everything is interconnected in delivering such a complex event and everyone must be willing to help everyone else, at all levels.