Saturday, 20 August 2011

Olympic Test Events: Testing The Ultimate Business Start-up !!

At school I was one of the three fat guys who came last in the cross county, was never picked for the football and even asked not to cut up the oranges at case I ate them all !  As a result, I ended up hating sport. Watching it, reading about it, participating in it. When friends came over for dinner and the men went in the lounge to watch Match of the Day, I tended to stay in the kitchen with the Yummie Mummies......somebody's got to keep an eye on them ....and the food!!

Weirdly, this all seems to have changed since I started to get behind London's Bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and over the last week has culminated in me going to not one but three Olympic Test Events: The Beach Volleyball, The Basketball and The BMX (thats a lot of B's !) (photos coming soon !!!)

Not one for sport (I'm bulit for comfort, not speed!), I have to confess a sudden realisation that this sports buisness is a good thing; it crosses borders and boundaries, it encourages healthier lifestyles and in the case of the London Games, it becomes a huge catalyst for physical AND for social change.

The most amazing, iconic sporting venues have sprung up in what was until 6 years ago, a largely forgotten part of London and the creation of the most incredible construction site to date,  has helped create thousand of job opportunities, enabled many SME's to win some great contracts....big and small and spurred on many people to thing about starting up new businesses or taking up new careers.

But this is just the beginning of the London 2012 business plan. As all entrepreneurs should know, you need to test the product on the market place before going global. You need to iron out the glitches, hiccups, creases. Three simple words apply


And so far what I've witnessed this week covers the first two.  Reflecting on whats gone well, what hasn't etc is critical to the success. These test events aren't just about showing off and getting some column-inches in the press. They about finding out where the people, the products, the process and ultimately the proceeds will need to be fine tuned.

Heads will be put together from the thinkers and doers and hopefully the punters will be asked for feedback.

And the punters MUST feature heavily in this. Why was the sound so poor at the basketball?. What was the response to the poor weather at the Beach Volleyball? Did we need a more dynamic presenter at the Beach Volleyball? Where we the ambassadors & volunteers? How simple and easy was the security? What about the vegetarian food options in the kiosks?

Listening & learning from the end users is just as important as a talk with the boffins so you MUST make sure they get a say in the Test Event feedback......its like stopping a family in the street to test out that new smoothie you've devised or giving people access to a test website before you press the "go-live" button

And don't forget.....there's no such thing as negative feedback!