It was by accident that Paul Foster entered and planned to revolutionise the event industry. As team manager of the GB men’s wheelchair basketball squad from 2006-2009 (winning bronze in Beijing 2008), Paul experienced a taste of planning one of the world’s greatest shows. After the Beijing Games, Paul continued what would become 15 impressive years (and counting) in the event industry.
Paul was asked to join the UK government as an advisor to ministers for the 2012 London Games and this experience and background made for a strong entrance into the event planning world. He joined the London 2012 Organising Committee in 2010 and his main task was to find a way to move 250,000 people in and out of the Olympic Park safely, through multiple routes including Europe’s largest shopping centre.
The Games were a huge career step for Paul who, during which, met his industry idol Fiona Richmond (his mentor at the Games and, according to him, the best Spectator Services Specialist in the world). This, he says “helped kick off a new career path and a greater understanding of major events”.
During the London 2012 test events, there was limited signage on the ground. Many spectators were finding it hard to navigate their way to the Olympic Park, so Paul’s solution was to give all stewards and volunteers large foam hands to help direct visitors. The foam hands were an instant hit, resulting in over 10,000 foam hands being used for the 2012 Games.
After the Games, Paul founded the Crowd Management consultancy FOAMHAND, which was sold in 2018, and in 2019, OnePlan was born.
For large scale events, Paul saw that integrated planning was always an issue. Multiple teams and organisations were using different tools and maps for their planning and were having to jump from version to version which wasted time and caused huge potential for error. Notwithstanding coordination issues, security – which has become a major concern for large events – is difficult to plan for without a streamlined visualisation tool.
Having given over 100 presentations around the world, and nine international events (including five Olympic Games and a SuperBowl), Paul is an expert in his field. He has travelled, and experienced various cultures, which for him, are essential in event planning and has given Paul an outlook on events that is diverse and open-minded. This ethos of change, constant learning and evolution is at the heart of OnePlan. Its quick success is precisely due to its ability to modify with changing plans, and to update according to new ideas. Paul’s focus on the customer journey, and the ability to adapt to the needs of the audience is what he believes is the future of event planning. And OnePlan does exactly that.
He humbly claims that his career highlight to date was working in the 2012 Games; yet OnePlan has disrupted the event industry world with its revolutionary platform to create secure, safe and incredible events.
What are his dream events? Paul mentions “Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, Paris 2024 and Milan 2026” as three events he would love to work on and is excited to see. OnePlan would make these events just as spectacular as the Games in 2012, and maybe more efficient.
19th December 2019