Olympic Games

Andrew Hill

I wrote in July about the management lessons to be drawn from organising the Olympics and one point that particularly struck me was that the London 2012 organisers’ job continues well into 2013.

First there are the Paralympic Games to stage, then there are venues to be closed, knowledge to be transferred to Rio de Janeiro’s organisers, and accounts to be tallied.

The job strikes me as comparable to that of the administrators of companies that go into liquidation or the senior executives of life insurers that close to new business and go into “run-off”. Read more

Andrew Hill

The euphoria at Nasa over the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars is infectious. The public seems to have joined the scientists’ celebrations with a fervour similar to that shown by the British for their Olympic team’s successes. As one wag posted on Twitter: “Gold medal for Nasa in the 563 billion metres.”

Be careful, though, in extrapolating from either the Mars mission or the Olympic triumphs the easy conclusion that “aiming high” gets results. As I’ve written, the achievement of even quite small steps can have measurably positive effects on a team’s performance and morale. Similarly, missing the big goal might prove a crushing blow – I watch some of those heart-rending interviews with athletes that fell short of their and their countries’ expectations at the Olympics and wonder how they will start to recover. Read more

Andrew Hill

Halfway through my evening at Wembley Stadium on Sunday I realised why watching Olympic football – or any Olympic sport for that matter – feels strange: it’s the absence of advertising. A stadium normally decked in every type of corporate branding was dominated instead just by the Olympic rings, the participants’ flags, and the purple hues of London 2012. Read more

Andrew Hill

There’s a tantalising glimpse of Oliver O’Brien’s wonderful interactive map of London (and the UK) in Tuesday’s FT. The map is in the style of the great Charles Booth, who researched London poverty 120 years ago and displayed it cartographically. Our analysis contains the sobering observation by Mr O’Brien that “London’s mix of rich and poor changes dramatically from street to street. But what you see even 120 years after Booth is that many of the patterns remain the same”.

Visitors to the Olympic Games may want to take a look at the map before heading for the Olympic park to gain a little socio-economic perspective amid the glitz and hoop-la. As my colleagues James Pickford and Chris Giles write in their analysis: Read more

Andrew Hill

Logo for the London 2012 OlympicsIran’s threat to withdraw from the 2012 London Olympics must be the first time anybody has tried to boycott any event because of a logo.

Iran’s claim that the collection of irregular polygons conceals the word “Zion” is only the latest, albeit the highest-level, objection to the design. It triggered controversy (of the “what the heck is it?” rather than the Iranian “it offends our moral principles” variety) as soon as it was launched in 2007. The BBC asked for suggestions and received 600 alternative logos and 10,000 comments. Read more