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Empty Seats at the Olympics – A Failure to Learn from the Past

Despite the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the start of London 2012, the pictures of empty seats at a number of venues have continued to attract criticism.  It seems particularly surprising that LOCOG should have struggled with this issue after similar problems at previous games.  Far from being some kind of ‘black swan’ event, this was an entirely predictable eventuality and contingency plans could have been prepared months in advance.  However, it’s not even clear that LOCOG had prepared a communications strategy for this; and actual operational responses to the problem appear to being made on the fly.

Clearly it is neither practical nor cost-effective to prepare contingency plans for every possible threat but, for some reason, organisations continue to be affected by problems that have repeatedly occurred in their own, or similar, organisations.  Every incident or near-miss in your own organisation, and your peer group, should be seen as a valuable opportunity to learn lessons and improve.