Chris Lynch: Big Ideas on inspiring a new generation of business intrapreneurs

Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch wants to generate an ongoing conversation that inspires a new generation of business intrapreneurs – people who can think outside the box – to drive innovation and lead change in large organisations.

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I believe we need to foster a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations.

Business is evolving at such a pace, we have the capacity to reinvent our companies from the inside.

Never underestimate the value that you or a new idea can contribute.

The faster you innovate, the more intellectual property you create to steal a march on your competition, and create your own future.

So let’s support the intrapreneurs: the people who can drive innovation and lead change.

They’re the creative, cost-conscious leaders who can influence entire organisations to spend every dollar as if it were their own, and develop breakthrough solutions for reducing costs.

People at the top of an organisation usually have the strategy, a direction, and the outcomes they want to achieve, but sometimes don’t always know how to get it all done.

Success requires people with ideas on the best ways to execute a strategy, the energy to challenge, the persistence to see it through.

Procurement teams understand what makes a business tick, and this intelligence can help create new enterprises from the inside, by looking outside.

Compared to the sales teams and the accountants, who focus on the top and bottom line of the business, the procurement team knows the importance of all those middle lines.

Look to the Big Ideas that can come from new industries, new venture capital concepts, and indeed anything that will unlock or create value.

It is what retailing has been doing for many years with, say, “home” brands and what airlines have been doing with re-branded low cost carriers.

At Rio Tinto we have $13.4 billion contestable group spend with 62,000 suppliers, and 4,000 contracts, so clearly a lot of opportunity to reinvent parts of business, and act like intrapreneurs.

So clearly there is plenty of scope for reinvention, improvement and Big Ideas.

At Rio Tinto we don’t restrict ourselves to the mining industry to find BIG IDEAS, adapting or adopting new concepts.

Some of our ideas have come from sectors as diverse as the car industry (the world beating logistics of our Western Australia iron ore operations and food processing (improved sorting of ore).

Even military intelligence systems, where our Mine Automation System allows us to manage and monitor our mines from thousands of kilometres away.

Procurement doesn’t need to be necessarily locked into an engineering or risk-averse management paradigm…

Most of the world’s leading companies have “squeezed the lemon” on costs very tightly. Thus far procurement as a discipline has done a great job in leveraging spend and working with suppliers in a very constructive way.

But now we need to break through the next layer of cost paradigms.

To develop and foster a culture of intrapreneurship within our larger companies will require extraordinary people, bringing extraordinary and fresh ideas to the table.

People inside who can think outside existing limits.

Like entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship is not easy.

It will require skills, tact, diplomacy and a plan and passion.

It is important you have a concurrent plan, especially if your big idea is going to take time to come to fruition.

Never dismiss your own idea. Don’t kill it off just because it’s challenged the first time.

Make sure you have options and alternatives for when you get the call, or wish to reframe the idea for a new environment.

Now is the time to create a groundswell; for corporations and governments to develop creative, cost-conscious leaders who can develop breakthrough solutions, reducing costs and influencing whole organisations.

Spending every dollar as if it were their own but looking to new ways to reinvent supply chains and whole businesses to unlock or create value.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a disruptive technology, just disruptive thinking with the plan that goes with it.

Chris was speaking at Procurious’ inaugural Big Ideas Summit as one of 40 most influential commercial thought-leaders. Learn more about the Big Ideas Summit and how to access exclusive content from the event.

World’s brightest procurement minds collaborate at Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2015

World-first digital think tank for the procurement profession reaches millions through social media

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London, 30th April 2015: Creating a Wikipedia of global suppliers to help manage risk, engaging the millennials to win the war on talent were two of the innovative ideas pitched by 40 thought leaders at the world’s first digitally led think-tank for the procurement and supply chain profession, Procurious Big Ideas Summit 2015.

The event, a giant global brainstorm for digital delegates, sparked vigorous debate across social media with posts and discussions under the #BigIdeas2015 hashtag reaching over a million on Twitter, Facebook and over 5,000 members on the profession’s niche social network Procurious.

Thought leaders from around the world including CIPS Group CEO David Noble, Rio Tinto CFO Chris Lynch, Hackett Group Principal Chris Sawchuk and Burberry Group Procurement Manager Stuart Pemble, came together to discuss their outside-of-the-box ideas under the themes: risk, people and technology.

London Business School Fellow Jules Goddard’s big idea was to stop the pursuit of ‘best practice’ because it breads sameness, stifles innovation and limits the opportunities to grow wealth.

“The challenge for business and procurement is not to pursue best practice, it is to pursue unique-practice – our own definition of what’s right for us,” Goddard said.

Keynote Chris Lynch, said the profession needed to foster a culture of ‘intrapreneurship’.

“Intrapreneurs are the people who can drive innovation and lead change,” Lynch said. “They’re the creative, cost-conscious leaders who can influence entire organisations to spend every dollar as if it were their own and develop breakthrough solutions for reducing costs and adding value.”

Procurious Founder Tania Seary said the inaugural Big Ideas Summit highlighted the wealth of creativity within the profession and the value of sharing and collaboration to drive innovation.

“Through the ideas that have been generated today, we’ve hopefully inspired a new generation of business intrapreneurs to get their creative juices flowing, to start collaborating through networks like Procurious and then start implementing those ideas to achieve change within their organisations and the entire profession,” Seary said.

Some of the many big ideas shared by thought leaders at the summit included:

  • The procurement function might not exist in 20 years. Instead it will become the role of every employee to achieve value from third party suppliers. (Peter Smith, Spend Matters Founder and Editor)
  • Don’t wait for your CPO to manage you, take the initiative to understand what your personal values and drivers are and align them with your career as motivation. (Sigi Osagie, Author)
  • Procurement needs to transition from the clunky old manual transmission that doesn’t know what gear to be in, into a modern automatic that predicts where it needs to be, learns and grows. (Jason Busch, Spend Matters, USA Managing Director)
  • Businesses need to measure themselves on their social values driven by procurement. While previously intangible, social values can now be measured through big data, sentiment analysis and social media. (Olinga Ta’eed, CCEG Chairman)
  • Procurement needs to add market intelligence as one of its services. We need to create services that are based on our customers and become more of a pull model rather than a push model. (Chris Sawcuck, The Hackett Group Principal)
  • Procurement professionals need to sell themselves as trusted advisors with unrivaled relationships both internally and with their customers and suppliers. (Stuart Pemble, Burberry Group Procurement Manager)
  • The profession must adopt Intelligent Collaborative Ecosystems (ICE) – procurement isn’t about a transaction anymore, it’s about long term valuable relationships, ICE encourages collaboration to solve shared global problems. (Lance Younger, CEO Statess)
  • Twenty-five per cent of sales roles won’t exist in 2020 because buyers are now empowered to make informed purchasing decisions on their own through the internet. (Tim Hughes, Oracle)
  • Leveraging real-time supplier feedback and data from sources like social media can allow us to analyze and predict supply chain issues and crises before they happen, (Paul Rakovich, BP)
  • Why don’t we flip the procurement recruitment process on its head? Start with reference checks and psychometric testing to find out if the candidate matches the skills and experience needed for the role before investing in an interview. (Andrew MacAskill, EO)
  • Using Procurious to share detailed information on global suppliers we could create an online global supply chain tree, a self-governed platform like Wikipedia, freely available to the benefit of the entire profession. (Gordon Donovan, The Faculty )

If you missed the event live, it’s not too late to take part in Big Ideas 2015. Digital delegates can access exclusive speaker and panel discussions, videos, blogs and interviews and join in trending discussions for free by joining the Procurious community.

What happened at The Big Ideas Summit?

While we eagerly await the first videos from the Big Ideas Summit to appear, we recap on a jam-packed day. How much of it did you catch?

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Our man Jordan Early set the scene for all of our ‘Digital Delegates’ who followed along on Twitter, Facebook, and Procurious.

The Big Ideas Summit 2015 is live!

Sarah Trota, 2013 Personnel Today HR director of the year, talked us through creating ‘alchemy’ using people in organisations.

We captured some of her other ‘Big Ideas’

Sigi Osagie got us all thinking about changing our perspective.

Have you got a business card? Is it a business card or a blank card? Change your perspective and get thinking about the other side of things…

Click to read more of Sigi’s insights.

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Rio Tinto’s CFO, Chris Lynch took to the floor to discuss Big Ideas in Big Companies, crucially – where do Big Ideas come from?

Chris taught us not to treat your suppliers as a resource to cut costs, but someone that you can work with to generate Big Ideas… Old St Labs Mark Perera also streamed the session live on Periscope for ardent social media fans.

Keep your eyes peeled for a blog series from Chris on Procurious soon.

In the first of our ‘Big Ideas’ panel discussions Sigi Osagie, Helen MacKenzie, Andrew MacAskill and Sarah Trota took to the stage to provide their perspectives on authentic leadership, and the challenges of trekking through the procurement jungle.

This is what they said.

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Ahead of Big Ideas 2015, we ran a competition to win an iPad mini for our community to invite 10 members to join the site. The winners were announced at the Summit and they are:

Helen Rees
Natalia Urazova
Sergio Giordano
Bertrand Maltaverne
James Bush

(And there is Sergio collecting his prize in person!)

Chris Sawchuk from The Hackett Group thinks procurement can learn from UBER

Here are a few top insights from his session:

– Innovation should be seen as a top priority in the organisation
– How do we build agility into our procurement organisations?
– If we can’t predict what’s going to happen, we need to be more agile to respond
– Be responsive and put the customer at the centre of everything we do

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Jordan Early reckoned the ‘Where are our blind spots?’ panel discussion that featured Tim Hughes, Olinga Ta’eed, Giles Breault, Jason Busch, Nic Walden and Lance Younger was the best procurement panel he’d ever heard.

Read his thoughts on it

It was certainly a heated affair… the reverberations of which were felt on Twitter!

A fight erupted on Twitter around social good

Tania Seary rounded off our keynotes with a call to action to the profession to set their egos aside, collaborate, share ideas and pull together for the betterment of procurement. Procurement needs to be “ego-less, collaborative and full of T-shaped people”…

Why procurement should flex its muscle

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The day itself may now be over, but the debate and discussions are still being amplified online. Here’s a teardown we’ve done of #BigIdeas2015 reach on social thus far… What Twitter was saying about Big Ideas 

And if that’s not enough reading material for you, here’s a handy list of related stories you might have missed on ‘Big Ideas’:

Sigi Osagie`s Big Ideas On Bringing The Real You To Work

6 Big Ideas To Join Procurious By Thursday

CIPS David Noble: Big Ideas On How Procurement Will Seize The Day

Thinking the Unthinkable – Big Ideas on Supply Chain Risk

Mark Perera’s Big Ideas on startups, technology & disruptive procurement

Samantha Coombs on the challenges facing Millennials going into procurement

Is ethical fast fashion an oxymoron?

Professor Olinga Ta’eed on Turning Procurement Professionals into Agents of Change

Professor Olinga Ta’eed: Big Ideas For Helping Your CEO Understand Social Value

Winning the War for Procurement Talent with Social Media

4 Big Ideas That Transformed Procurement Technology

Help us to help you (and win 1 of 5 iPad minis)

Social influencer Tim Hughes: Big Ideas for the next Industrial Revolution

David Berry on Fixing the Innovation Supply Chain

5 of the deadliest risks facing your supply chain in 2015

`Our People Are Our Greatest Asset.` Erm… Really?!

Behind the supply chain curtain: 5 questions procurement needs to ask

Slavery in Supply Chains – A Modern Day Risk

Big Ideas 2015: How to be a Digital Delegate and get involved

What are the innovations transforming supply chains & biggest trends right now?

4 technology trends we’ll tackle at Big Ideas 2015

Big Ideas that changed the world: Communication

Why we’re talking managing talent at Big Ideas 2015

Who are procurement‘s most influential thinkers?

The digital delegate and rise of the virtual summit

Join the world‘s first digitally-led event for procurement professionals

What was Twitter saying about Big Ideas?

How the Twitterverse reacted to Big Ideas

How the Twitterverse reacted to #BigIdeas2015

Whether you chose to follow the Big Ideas Summit on Procurious or Facebook we hope you enjoyed the conversation, learnings and interactions throughout the day… But we wanted to especially thank all those that followed along on Twitter – we positioned the Big Ideas Summit as a digitally-led event but we couldn’t have predicted the overwhelming response we received…

Some brief figures: Our #BigIdeas2015 hashtag was picked-up and mentioned 759 times throughout the day.

In total, tweets relating to the event were served to a potential combined audience of 1,154,466 million.

If you’re not following us already, come and find us using @procurious_ and help to continue the conversation!

#BigIdeas2015 hashtag was being used worldwide
This map shows where the #BigIdeas2015 hashtag was being used worldwide

What follows are just a ‘small’ sample of tweets mentioning the Big Ideas Summit – see what influencers, thought-leaders, commentators, and fellow procurement professionals made of the day’s events.