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Time to re-evaluate and quantify the impact of legacy

Redefining legacy to understand real value

The “perception of the legacy of the Olympic Games remains challenging”, a recent report from the IOC highlighted. A sentiment which will resonate with many events organisers, host cities and federations around the world today. With the modern technology and measurement tools we have available at our fingertips, perhaps it’s time we took a fresh look at how we think of legacy.

More often than not, economic impact and infrastructural development take precedence when we define legacy. There are not the swathes of published strategies, practical research or concrete learnings around how we centre legacy around the human impact; how it engages workforces, its influence on empowering communities or in building volunteer networks. The reason being, as is seen in many a bid book and host city proposal, if it can’t be quantified, it tends to not be included. As a result, one of the most crucial elements of legacy is going unchecked and greatly under-valued. Something increasingly facing federations today.

 

The Immensity of the human impact

Take one event, during one month, in one city. London 2012’s infamous 70,000 strong volunteer base of ‘Games-makers’ stole the headlines, but added to the 6,000 staff and over 100,000 contractors, in total the event’s workforce topped 200,000 people. Whilst that scale is impressive, apart from some sporadic case studies, it remains difficult to pinpoint how those engaged in the event continue to promote the Games and more importantly, share their learnings, utilise future opportunities, benefit local communities and can be called upon when the city needs them again. 

200,000 from one event? Imagine if we could continue to engage those people. Imagine the legacy impact if that combined recruitment process and the training and management skills learned were harnessed and reactivated when needed, well after an event, for generations to come? Now you have a legacy. One impacting and affecting the lives of millions worldwide. The numbers would be immense.

 

How to quantifying workforce legacy

Today, we have a new world of tools to quantify the success events play in engaging workforces that weren’t available even five years ago, which also help to drive efficiency and save both time and money. And given many events still rely on long-standing partnerships with technology suppliers and workforce management providers, it’s no wonder the industry is playing catch up.

Keeva O’Connor Korten, an industry leader whose career spans almost every Olympic and FIFA event since 1996, said: “Utilising the tools we have available to engage volunteers, creating a platform for them to continue to be part of the networks that have been established, to share learnings, to understand in real-time what their aspirations are and how they can access future initiatives is something organisations need to wake up to.

“Such solutions for workforce management are available today, provided by companies like Rosterfy, and are quickly being taken up by forward facing federations, teams, host cities and not-for-profits who have a vested interest in demonstrating an ROI and ROO of an event. Putting a number on the value events offer to people has never been easier and the impact to legacy has never been so great.”

 

Reoccurring events signal time is now

Events are starting to reappear in locations they’ve already been staged. Places and people that should be able to showcase the real-world impact legacy has created are soon to be centre of attention. Take the Olympics again. A recent IOC report highlighted;  

“We can see momentum being built around legacy. With Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and LA 2028, there is the unique opportunity of the Olympic Games being hosted twice (or three times) in the same city, building upon legacies that already exist in the territory. The implementation of this Legacy Strategic Approach is an important step towards channeling collective efforts on legacy and further demonstrating the value proposition of the Olympic Games.”

The time to act is now.

 

For more information on Legacy and how it is playing a part in the factors facing federations today, take a look here.