Baku 2015

Visualisation is an established technique for improving performance amongst elite athletes. Sprinters mentally rehearse the smoothest start, swimmers the fastest turn, and gymnasts the perfect landing. 

In June 2015, the Azerbaijani capital of Baku will host the inaugural European Games, a new multi-sport, multi-venue event for athletes representing the National Olympic Committees of Europe. With the beginning of the Games fast-approaching, Baku 2015 felt that they, too, could benefit from some visualisation – to optimise their own performance when the eyes of the world are on them next summer.

So, we dispatched a team of four scribes - Rachel, Jack, Josh and Karolin – to visualise the perfect execution of the Games for those charged with the task of making it happen. 

The aim was to map out this spectacular and rapidly-evolving city, complete with futuristic competition venues and landmark architecture, just as it will be during the Games - with everything running smoothly, and everyone playing their part. 

“The team responsible for delivering Baku 2015 is made up of international team members with previous Games experience and talented people from Azerbaijan, most of whom have not worked on a multi-sport event before,” explains Gavin McAlpine, Director of Operational Capability and Readiness. “We thought it would be valuable to bring everyone together to collaborate in creating a visual representation of the complex operational concepts involved.”

“Scriberia were quick to understand what we were hoping to achieve, and brought their experience and creativity to the table when it came to devising a workshop that would deliver it,” he added.

On the first of two days in Baku, the Scriberia team worked closely with a small group of Baku 2015 Operation Committee members to define some key messages, before setting out to discover the city. 

“Getting to know the city and its geography was central to the job,” says scribe, Rachel Sale. “Baku is full of breathtaking, iconic buildings – like the Flame Towers and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre - which we used as key points of reference on our map. We were given a tour of the city, and the opportunity to see these places at first hand, before taking our sketches back to the drawing board the next day.”

Their Baku adventure translated into some spectacular live scribing on day two, where four separately-themed boards were brought together to form one coherent image. 

“Our participants really enjoyed the activity and were impressed with the innovative approach. It sparked many 'water cooler moments' over the following week,” says Gavin. 

“The resulting image will take pride of place in our new office, and become a key part of the 'virtual tour' of Games operations used during induction training for all of our new recruits.”