Do Procurement Find It Easy To Be Creative?

Posted 18/02/2015

Someone suggested on twitter last week that procurement weren’t very good at innovation. 

What do you think? Are you comfortable being creative, or do you find it easier to do things the way you’ve done them in the past (which is what the tweet suggested)? 

One model we often use when we’ve got to option generations in the category management, and supplier relationship management trainings we deliver is this one by Roger von Oech - of Creative Whack pack fame – http://www.creativethink.com/products.html. 

It’s often an after lunch session, i.e. on your feet and moving about through all four stages exploring what each stage means to you. 

From the reactions we get I’d summarise Procurement’s ease in each stage to be:

  • Explorer – very comfortable as it’s the bedrock of the research and analysis phase

  • Artist – not at all comfortable – creativity is not a skill that’s recruited for, trained, developed or measured that much in Procurement - if at all

  • Judge – fairly comfortable – evaluation is one of our strengths – as long as we don’t do it before we’ve allowed ourselves time to do some exploring

  • Warrior – love it and yes need to remember to undertake the other 3 stages first!

 After talking about the state of mind and body needed to be creative we often encourage delegates to be creative in how they under take the next breakout. The breakout invites them to assess the 66 different levers of value that might be able to be utilised in their category/supplier. In other words not a breakout where you look at the list and cognitively decide whether it applies or not – it’s about asking “what if” it applied and acting “as if” it did. 

Without fail every group goes to the same breakout area they were using before, sits at the table and writes on the same flip chart.

In the plenary afterwards they all laugh when we point out what they did – i.e. what they’ve always done before and requires no thought as its automatic. They just try to do whatever it is they need to do in that familiar and safe context/environment.

Creativity requires a different mindset, body posture, environment and sometimes even different voice and persona.

How will you get into a more creative state next time you need one – and more importantly how will you stop yourself doing what you always do and try to be creative in an environment more suited to research, analysis and evaluation.

More later in the month on our suggestions on how to be more creative – do let us know how you access a more creative and open to ideas state of mind via the comments below. One find for me personally this week is @gapingvoid – a great example of creativity.

For more on the training we deliver, including creativity, see here or call Anna on +44 (0)1483 243520+44 (0)1483 243520


Tagged by topic: Business & Stakeholder Engagement , Category Management , Learning and Development , Procurement Transformation

  by Alison Smith

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