As a Program Director, I often get asked how I decide on what goes into The Procurement Festival program each year. While finding the people and organisations with the best stories is an important part of putting the event together, what many people don’t realise is that the research process starts long before the event planning even begins – usually 6 months out from the conference – when we get the community together in a series of roundtable discussion groups.
It’s in these groups that we uncover and unpack the most pressing issues that are facing the Procurement community. The challenges that keep them up at night as well as the opportunities for using technology as a driver of change.
Each roundtable discussion group involves around 20 people who sit around a… well… a round table! These people are real practitioners in the industry – Chief Procurement Officers, Sourcing & Contract Managers, CFOs, and Policy & Compliance Managers – we want to speak to the people in the thick of it who are managing teams, driving strategic thinking, leading transformation projects and living the complexities that come with that every day.
Getting to the Core of the Problem
Our discussion groups are facilitated by a subject matter expert who draws out and interprets the pain points people are experiencing by asking probing questions and capturing the ideas that come out.
The process works like this:
- Participants break out into small groups to talk about their main pain points which they capture to share with the wider group
- The group then explores the points each team raised and expands on common themes
- The group then focuses on a few areas that are most important to the wider community and expands the conversation to help the group delve deeper into these issues- participants share their experiences and challenges they face in these areas and the group discusses ideas to enable improvement.
- At the end of the session (usually lasting around 3 hours) our rountable participants vote on which issues are most pressing for them and their organisation.
We run different discussion groups in multiple cities around Australia and repeat the process above – this year we travelled to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. It’s important for us to get a good cross section of what’s happening in the industry and speak to a wide variety of professionals in different sectors across the country.
It’s also a great opportunity for our roundtable participants to network. We often hear them saying things along the lines of “It’s good to know we’re not the only ones experiencing these problems” (with a definite sigh of relief!).
Throughout the round table discussions, I capture all the ideas that get put forth. This information is collated captured in a research report which you can download here. It is from this information that we can then start to find the thought leaders, innovators and organisations out there that can share their stories to help answer some of the challenges raised in these discussion groups and start to form the program for The Procurement Festival.
About the Author
Steve Morris is the Program Director for The Procurement Festival. He scours the globe for the most inspiring stories, case studies and thought leaders to showcase at The Procurement Festival each year.
If you’d like to be involved in next year’s roundtable discussion groups, email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org