Procurement And Music Collaboration – Ivalua Event Suggests Links

We mentioned recently the forthcoming Ivalua NOW event in London on March 13th, (you can book for that here, free of charge to practitioners) and explained that the theme is the “Voice of Procurement”. Having followed the music business with such interest over the years, I was very happy to be asked to get involved with the event!

Indeed, the two worlds that have been the most important to me over the past 30 years (apart from family of course, and possibly Gewürztraminer) have been the worlds of procurement and music. If I hadn’t had an often fascinating and generally satisfying career in the former, I would have loved to be an A&R man, finding new artists, a John Peel type DJ or a bass payer of average talent in a band with a brilliant front-person.

So I immediately started thinking about how procurement can learn from the music business. Two areas quickly came to mind. That are different yet related, in that both are really about collaboration. And one was explained nicely in this article from the Economist,  which discusses the success of DJ Khaled, one of the world’s most successful hip-hop artists. While he no doubt has some personal talent, his true genius appears to be in putting together collaborations of other artists who work together with each other and him to make globally successful music.

This isn’t new – remember “Walk this Way” from Aerosmith and Run DMC back in 1986? That seemed weird (if brilliant) back then but as the Economist points out, according to Billboard data, “collaborations now represent more than a third of hit songs ... Of the top ten songs on the current Hot 100 chart, half are credited to more than one artist”.

Megastars like Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran, Rhianna and even Coldplay constantly work with others.  The days when the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were self-contained acts are long gone. Today it is all about finding others – sometimes with apparently very different musical styles – who can work with you to make something that is greater than the sum of the parts.

Collaboration is also a great way of introducing new ideas (or acts) that the market may not have been familiar with in their own right, or helping cross over into different genres. Here is one of my favourites from recent years that introduced Sir Paul to a whole new R&B audience – it’s a great song too. (First time I heard it, I thought it was rubbish, then after hearing it a few times on the radio, just could not get it out of my head!)

And all of that logic must apply to procurement too. This is a huge, inter-connected, digital world now, and even the biggest firms can’t do everything themselves. Finding the right people to work with, then doing so in a positive, structured manner with a genuinely collaborative relationship is the trick that the best procurement functions and organisations are looking to pull off.  Finding real innovators is vital too, whether we’re talking about them as suppliers to our organisations or partners in the procurement eco-system.

There’s another slightly different aspect to collaboration that we also see in music and which is highly applicable to procurement. But I think we will save that for my session at the Ivalua event - and you can book for that here, free of charge to practitioners.

 

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