Friday, 10 August 2012

Lighting the flame!

Danny Boyles programme notes for the opening ceremony of the Olympics have been circulating on the internet.... The last paragraph reads:

“But we hope, too, that through all the noise and excitement you’ll glimpse a single golden thread of purpose – the idea of Jerusalem – of the better world, the world of real freedom and true equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring notion that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication. A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone.”

The amazing view from Karl Brocker's seat!
As talk begins to turn to the closing ceremony, as I continue to enjoy the London Olympics 2012, and as I anticipate the events of the Paralympics – my memories remain of a few Fridays gone as I watched the opening ceremony. Whilst some have debated the political element of the ceremony, I have chosen to reflect on what we can learn from it. Whatever your view about all, parts of, or who did what at the ceremony I think it should be recognised that this was a huge task, well done; and if you’ve ever organised so much as a kids party or a work Christmas lunch you’ll appreciate that you can’t please everybody so you just have to be true to your convictions and go for it!

Here are some of my reflections:
  • The first lesson is that of a clear vision, but not just one about the end result – for me the above excerpt evidences a clarity and a passion for the journey.
  • I think it is also fantastic that from the outset, this vision was inclusive.
  • From this vision (of little value if not achievable) to the ceremony itself, it is clear that this vision was translated into a clear plan and that hours of preparation went into the final show.
  • The choice of ‘players’ in the performance was also important. The use of volunteers including children and members of the health service through to high profile cast members such as Kenneth Branagh, JK Rowling and Rowan Atkinson was in keeping with the UK having a range of diverse talent, but with no one professional dominating the show over the non-professionals (which included HM The Queen)!
  • And then there is Danny Boyle himself who demonstrated great leadership skills (along with others) – it was his vision, he clearly got a great team around him, and most impressively he shared of the glory, and recognised the role of the volunteers in his post event speech.

Personally, I think it was a great show – it was very British (authentic), gave a nod to history without staying there, celebrated talent and achievement, and was creative and forward thinking but not so much so that we abandoned fireworks!

And when comes time for the closing and Paralympic ceremonies, I hope the handing over of the baton is as innovative, smart and smooth as the approach to lighting the flame...which, to me, was genius.

All lit up... Another Karl Brocker view - Thanks for sharing!