The Ovation CPO community gives senior members of the Procurement Leaders community a platform to debate the issues that will impact the future of our profession. With an initial focus on Supplier-Enabled Innovation (SEI), the group congregates annually at our Ovation CPO retreat, for two days of executive-level discussion, learning and networking.


In 2015, we presented the results of our study into SEI, which investigates an area of procurement that has the potential to redefine what we do.


Underpinned by the Procurement Leaders Advisory Board, Ovation explores topics such as:

  • Disruptive innovation & technology
  • Talent & attracting top performers
  • Sustainability and CSR
  • Global economic issues
  • Megatrends and societal shifts

Ovation and the Procurement Leaders Advisory Board are chaired by former CPO of IBM, John Paterson:


Joh Paterson"EARLY IN 2015, the Procurement Leaders Advisory Board gathered to discuss innovation and what it means for procurement. We all agreed that while some good work is being done, the potential for creating value is still huge and can completely revolutionise our profession.

We in procurement occupy a wonderfully advantaged position in that we understand the needs of our companies and at the same time have visibility of the capabilities of all of our suppliers.

Tapping into the enormous capability of the thousands of suppliers with whom we do business is perhaps the single largest opportunity procurement has.

We have a responsibility to harness these supplier capabilities to help provide cost-effective competitive advantage to our companies; likewise suppliers would welcome the opportunity to engage early with their clients to help open new markets.

Unfortunately, however, we tend to be prescriptive in our needs to the extent that we inhibit any opportunity for suppliers to be creative on our behalf. It’s a weakness we must address.

Moving to the next level is not necessarily easy and there will, of course, be challenges. Your internal clients may not be initially supportive; ownership issues surrounding intellectual property can arise and you may not yet have the right skills in the function to recognise, let alone promote, supplier innovation.

All of these can be resolved, and myself and the Advisory Board see this study as one part of the solution – and it comes at exactly the right time to help CPOs navigate their journey through the next evolution of procurement."


To get involved in the debate or to request a copy of the SEI report, please complete the contact form.

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