The Olympic Opening ceremony unsung heroes: the client

Danny Boyle – or Sir Danny Boyle as I shall insist on calling him until it’s officially confirmed – has made a phenomenal creative statement with his Olympic opening ceremony.

His creative genius in redefining the Opening Ceremony is widely celebrated.

Yet are there possibly greater heroes involved in the process, who, thus far, have gone unrecognised in their achievement and contribution to this ‘greatest show on earth’?

I refer to the people who appointed Boyle to the job of the Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony.

The team who seemingly monitored his work, progress and ultimately backed him when needed.

It is all very well being a creative genius but do you need bigger people around who can say ‘yes’ to his visions of the ‘Isle of Noises’?

Should greater or at least equal credit for the Olympic Opening ceremony go to the Olympics Executive Producers Committee and the London 2012 Ceremonies Board for appointing Danny Boyle?

For every great creative genius there is a wise – and presumably relieved after the experience –  client/patron/connector. Someone who has made it happen.

Should we be throwing the spotlight and applause on the Olympic Executive Producers – Stephen Daldry CBE, Mark Fisher, Hamish Hamilton, and Catherine Ugwu as well as the London 2012 ceremonies board: Bill Morris, London 2012 Director of Ceremonies, Education and Live Sites; Martin Green, Head of Ceremonies; Catherine Ugwu, Executive Producer, Production; Scott Givens, Managing Director; Sara Donaldson, Chief Operating Officer; Dion Carter, Finance and Commercial Director; and Non-Executive Directors Frank McCormack and Alan Robertson.

You could argue that they were the ones who took the real risk.

The biggest driver in decision-making, in my experience, is people’s avoidance of ‘risk’. The humongous giant spectre that ‘something could go wrong, ‘I might get the blame’, ‘I will be associated with failure’….

In reality the Executive Producers committee and the London 2012 Ceremonies Board minimised their potential risks:

They appointed an award-winning proven film director in Danny Boyle.

Their own personal experience is immense, with proven track records of great distinction in related creative fields.

They had a brilliant and perhaps untapped brand story to play with.

So, the significance factors for your creativity and innovation are:

• What ways do you need to take risk – and how do you minimise the likelihood of making a bad decison?
• Where is expertise required?
• What expertise gaps are there?
• Is it really a risk I am taking?
• What are the bigger risks of not doing anything or failing to fuilfil the real potential of an opportunity?

And perhaps a point to reflect on: for every great creative genius there are greater clients or patrons who say ‘yes’ or ‘Yes!’

So let us celebrate both Danny Boyle but just as important, the Executive Producers committee and the London 2012 Ceremonies Board. Risks they took and risks now they should celebrate the creative dividend from their guidance.

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