Down the Procurement Pub with The Apprentice, the Cubs, ProcureCon and Brandi Carlile

Here's a nice picture from last week's European Commission Innovative Public Procurement conference in Berlin - a fine collection of speakers and organisers having dinner the night before.

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An early warning - next week, viewers in the UK  have the episode in The Apprentice when the remaining candidates have to show their "procurement" skills, in a not very lifelike sense (acquiring nine weird items in the space of a few hours). But in this scenario, which is used every year in the programme, we do usually see quite a few interesting aspects of negotiation practice - usually more bad than good, but it's generally a fun hour! Thursday 9pm on BBC1.

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There wasn’t a lot of work done in our sister company’s  US office in the last couple of days, as the Spend Matters team (season ticket holders) celebrated the first World Series Baseball win for the Chicago Cubs in 108 years. A curse was placed on the team in 1945, but a combination of “Moneyball” data analytics, neuroscience and old fashioned great, motivational management has done the trick. There’s a great article here by David Axelrod in the New Yorker magazine if you want to read more.

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Also next week we will be reporting from ProcureCon Europe in Berlin (again) - a major event in the procurement calendar. Plenty of interesting speakers and sessions, and we hope to meet some old friends and make some new. If you're attending, do come and say hello to Nancy Clinton and I on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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I went to see Brandi Carlile in concert this week at the Shepherd's Bush Empire and she was excellent. While you might generally describe her as country-rock, she covered a Zeppelin song, and her two encores were an acoustic version of Turpentine - done un-amplified from the circle - then a rocking version of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain, which was just brilliant. Here is another lovely song from the gig - a home made recording obviously (not by me) but you get the general impression hopefully.

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