MATTER: BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE
TOM BODKIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SECRET COMPASS, ON WHY CHALLENGE MATTERS
Missed this morning’s MATTER session with Tom Bodkin? Check out these highlights from his discussion on delivering bespoke experiences in remote and potentially risky regions, drawing on his own experience to spark conversations.
The challenges discussed are those of logistics, safety and security:
In remote locations, these include local infrastructure, bureaucracy, weather and local individuals. Most of these challenges can be overcome with money. For example:
- If there is no road, you can rent a helicopter.
- If the food is poor, you can bring in a cook and supplies.
- If you have no local guide, you can import one from another part of the country.
What is absolutely essential is an experienced, knowledgable project manager who is enthusiastic and has a positive attitude, initiative and charm.
There are many inherent risks that come with running, mountain biking, trekking, rafting, etc. in remote locations. There are two key elements involved with these challenges:
- Risk management: the process of identifying, assessing and mitigating risk and planning for eventualities
- Client: they must be aware of the intrinsic risks involved and be comfortable with them, giving an informed consent to participate; they must be aware of what could go wrong and briefed on the contingency plans in place – this way, if things change, they are mentally prepared
We take people places where there are clear and notable security issues, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Sudan, etc. However, it is important to refrain from taking individuals on a “holiday” anywhere considered risky.
- The key here is to identify potential threats and to be informed enough to know what they look like. You then avoid these completely, usually geographically, but sometimes through patronage or means of travel.
- We build in very robust contingency plans so that if something changes or goes awry, we have the ability to react immediately and to get people out of the situation.