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How to thrive in uncertainty: Learn from the Olympics and UEFA

by Cyril Bouquet, Christophe Dubi, Andrea Traverso

All organisations, no matter how big or successful, must learn to embrace continuous innovation to ride the relentless waves of disruption and changing consumer habits. 

When COVID-19 struck, it brought sport to a halt for the first time since the Second World War. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the European Football Championship (EURO 2020) were postponed and had to be reimagined for a pandemic-restricted audience.

For most sport organisations, the consequences of the pandemic were unprecedented, with deep financial implications. According to the latest UEFA Benchmarking Report, the football industry alone is forecast to lose between 7 and 8 billion euro in revenue across their 2020 and 2021 financial years.

But, thanks to long-engrained cultures of innovation, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) were able to adapt – and even to use the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate innovation.

How did the IOC and UEFA remain so agile in the face of disruption? And, what lessons can you learn to help your organisation succeed in an uncertain world?

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