How London’s 2012 Games topped Beijing with half the budget and smarter thinking…

Barbara Hodge
Posted: 04/09/2013

Two brand new SSOW Europe keynotes reveal why success ISN’T always about who has the bigger wallet

Three whole decades. That’s how long it will take Beijing to pay off the constructions costs for the Bird Nest 2008 Olympics Stadium alone, according to its operators. In a global economy that’s laden with fiscal debt there is no escaping the fact that the estimated US$43bn dollars China spent on hosting the World’s most expensive and elaborate Olympic games is a hard pill to swallow. Yes, tourists will undoubtedly visit the Birds Nest when they go to Beijing, but is it really going to replace the Great Wall of China as a local attraction? We strongly suspect not. For starters you can’t even see it from outer space…. So the big question everyone’s asking is "Was it worth spending all that cash to make history and be seen as a success on a global platform?"

Most people seem to think that question got answered the moment the opening ceremony in London finished last July. With LESS THAN HALF the total costs spent in Beijing the London Organisational Committee for the Olympics Games (LOCOG) made an estimated $US19bn go a very long way and still managed to pull off one of the most spectacular Games in living memory of most people today. How did they do it? By doing what all good business’s do to succeed; they hired clever people.

SSON is delighted to announce that both Jean Tomlin, HR director for London 2012 and Greg Nugent, Director of Brand, Marketing and Culture for the London Olympics and Paralympics will be joining us in Prague in May at Shared Services and Outsourcing Week to talk about exactly how they managed to respectively mobilise 200,000 Gamesmakers without any room for failure, and also build a database of 5.5million people around the UK turning volunteers in games makers overnight by engaging 23,000 community leaders.

What corporate career experience qualifies these leaders to be able to share ideas with you to run your Shared Services business better?

  • Jean’s career began at Ford before moving to Prudential, where she became responsible for programme management, restructuring and reengineering the workforce. She also led the first phone-based financial services offer (Pru Direct), and went on to become a co-Founder of Egg.
  • Her next challenge was with Marks & Spencer, from where she was headhunted to manage people and strategy for the London Olympics and Paralympics
  • Before joining LOCOG Greg was Head of Marketing at Eurostar, where he helped steer HS1 and the move to St Pancras. He has since acted as strategic advisor to HS2 and as Deputy Chair of The Join In Trust
  • With a background in polling, Greg likens the Customer Services strategy of the Olympics to a political campaign. By weaving a thread from the athletes through to the public, the aim was to create ‘A Games for Everybody.’ In one example of his Obama-style methods, emails were sent to local residents exactly two hours before the torch relay passed their neighbourhood.

As testament to the 2012 Games’ success, 89% of those surveyed afterwards said it was "the best thing that’s ever happened in the UK". Want to meet the business leaders who made that happen with less than half of the cash available than their Chinese predecessors? We do – that’s why we’ve asked them along to tell us how they did it.


Meet Jean Tomlin and Greg Nugent at Europe's leading service delivery event – Shared Services & Outsourcing Week 2013, Europe, May 21-24 in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Jean Tomlin

As HR Director for London 2012, Jean mobilised 200,000 Gamesmakers and led a project where there was no room for failure. With a finely tuned strategy and "no room for egos," she built a team to deliver the best Games in modern history. Jean began her career at Ford before moving to Prudential, where she became responsible for programme management, restructuring and reengineering the workforce. She also led the first phonebased financial services offer (Pru Direct), and went on to become a co-Founder of Egg. Her next challenge was with Marks & Spencer, from where she was headhunted to manage people and strategy for the London Olympics and Paralympics. Jean demonstrates why business requires a detailed engagement plan, excellent communication and a shared set of values. She addresses change management, risk and contingency planning, and the need for a shared vision to be communicated clearly: "Leadership is shown in the way people are managed and directors are paid to get stuck in."

Greg Nugent

Greg Nugent served as Director of Brand, Marketing and Culture for the London Olympics and Paralympics. He was responsible for everything from customer relationships to the look of the Games. He built a database of 5.5 million, turned volunteers into Gamesmakers and coined the phrase ‘Inspiring a Generation’ as a beacon of hope for the nation. With a background in polling, Greg likens the Olympics to a political campaign. By engaging 23,000 community leaders and weaving a thread from the athletes through to the public, the aim was to create ‘A Games for Everybody.’ As one example of Obama-style methods, emails were sent to local residents exactly two hours before the torch relay passed their neighbourhood. In another aspect of the mammoth project, Greg oversaw the branding of 87,000 items. He and his team also helped identify and resolve 702 problems, all under the watchful eye of the media. As a testament to the Games’ success, 89% of those surveyed afterwards said it was "the best thing that’s ever happened in the UK." In presentations Greg draws lessons from this once-in-a-lifetime event that apply to any brand or business, of any size or type. They range from the importance of planning, training and defining a vision to developing a customer experience and involving everyone in the challenges faced by the organisation. He relates his message to the specific conference themes, and includes stirring footage from London 2012. Before joining LOCOG Greg was Head of Marketing at Eurostar, where he helped steer HS1 and the move to St Pancras. He has since acted as strategic advisor to HS2 and as Deputy Chair of The Join In Trust, building on the volunteering legacy of the Gamesmakers.

Barbara Hodge
Posted: 04/09/2013

member

Join for Free

EVENTS OF INTEREST

United States
February 25 - 27, 2018
The Peninsula Manila, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines
March 18 - 21, 2018