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This week’s find of data visualisation

As a consultant, you come across some pretty cool stuff. Click the link to find a selection of visualisation of big data. Data and in our case, spend analysis just keeps getting easier because of it. Insight and trends at your fingertips, wisdom to be applied.

Wonderful visualisation of data 

data visualisation

This week's find of data visualisation

As a consultant, you come across some pretty cool stuff. Click the link to find a selection of visualisation of big data. Data and in our case, spend analysis just keeps getting easier because of it. Insight and trends at your fingertips, wisdom to be applied.

Wonderful visualisation of data 

data visualisation

October 2nd 2015 Innovating in procurement is our passion

October 2nd 2015 Innovating in procurement is our passion and we are working with national enterprise support agencies to bring our expertise to local and national business
Read More http://www.irishexaminer.com/business/startup-2015-smes-who-are-benefiting-from-work-with-enterprise-support-agencies-356799.html

e-Quiddity, our sister company, nominated for a National Enterprise Award

May 15th 2015

IDD Consulting sister company, e-Quiddity, is nominated for a National Enterprise Award. They are finalist for the West Cork Region.

Congrats to Ingrid and the team for all the hard work.
Read More: http://www.womenmeanbusiness.com/2015/05/national-enterprise-award-nominees-revealed-2015/

March 1st 2015 Ingrid De Doncker speaks to UCC students

March 1st 2015 Ingrid De Doncker speaks to UCC students as part of their project & operations module on how e-Sourcing can benefit business in the Procurement world.
Read More: http://www.ucc.ie/en/mba/news/fullstory-417773-en.html

Meander towards Beyond

Entrepreneurs, … apart from a select few, any company started off with an idea, a passion, a desire to be or to do more or better than what was available at a moment in time. For others, the only drive to starting their own business was to earn more money… Whatever reason in your head or heart was pushing you to make that step towards this journey, both head and heart are needed to make a go of it or you can kiss your idea, your passion, and all the money good bye.

So wikipedia defines entrepreneurship as: “Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business, a startup company or other organization. The entrepreneurdevelops a business plan, acquires the human and other required resources, and is fully responsible for its success or failure.”

Step out, step in, step up. Move left, turn right, jump over. Make way, go back, run fast. Stop. Start. Start again, go back, move left, go forward, take that turn, or actually go back again…. Where is the GPS towards success and away from failure? Where is the bright light or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

The process of starting a business is not as straightforward and simple as people make it out to be. Writing a business plan is simply not going to cut it. Putting on paper the “why, what, how, who, when and where” is only a snapshot of your direction and long term goals at a moment in time. You might be resolved in your vision, your objectives, your values, but the roads to your end goals, can be multiple and can have a lot of cul de sac that are not indicated on your map. Pitfalls are roads as well that sometimes are even more attractive than others….

One thing is clear to me though – it is such an interesting road and while I still am struggling with finding my own brand, how to frame it, who to talk to and what to focus on, every day, I am finding myself more and more. The biggest journey of entrepreneurship for me has been the self development out of necessity, wonder, aspiration or desire.

So I would like to challenge the definition of entrepreneurship a bit: for me it means more stepping out and moving amongst others and is so inclusive of the process of intrapreneurship, a process of looking in and moving yourself towards others. Again this does not match the wikipedia or any other definition to be honest but it’s the best word I could match it up with at the moment.

Let no road be too straight, let no river be too shallow, let all levels of the depth of the stream find its own rhythm and moves. Without it, we would not be able to learn how to reach for the beyond and challenge our own meander. Without it, we would not be able to fail to succeed after, without it, there would be no improvement or innovation. Success might not happen when we so desperately want it, but as long as we persevere, focus on our long term goals and accept that failure is part of success, then that road is the only road we can take towards and beyond.

An interesting TED from Angela Lee Duckworth talks about just that, why are some successful and why do others fail. Angela is passionate about explaining her findings about “grit”. She has changed her own career meander a few times and is now at the phase of going beyond. Interestingly, she is gritting her way forward!

https://youtu.be/H14bBuluwB8

 

Our SAM-mys and STEAM-mettes

It is probably not something you think possible again at my age or would want to admit to on linkedin, however I have falling in love all over again…and this time I am out of control.

It happened a few months ago, and the thing is, my new found love is not one man, not one woman, not a gorgeous song or a delectable dish, no, my new found passion is education all over again. I always was fond of it, to be fair, but more of the Arts subjects, the humanities,  where interpretations reigns and different point of views enrich conversations. I have always felt myself comfortable in the chaos of stories, in the inevitabilities of political and social challenges, in the changing landscape of human behaviours, in the depths of psychology or even in the differing interpretations of history and economical models.

This time, I am loving some particular letters in the alphabet more than the others – The S (science), T (Technology) E (Engineering) and M (Mathematics) and I am in love with all the engineers, the mathematicians, the scientist and the technologists. I am in awe with their thought process, their binary thinking, their structured approach to any problem and their creative solutions. I was fortunate to attend the inspirefest in Dublin last week, and my head was spinning with all the amazing ideas, inventions, and wonders these STEAM guru’s bring to the fore. Was I inspired? Yes, to the tune that I nearly wanted to give up my day job and go back to college to embrace this new found love, enrich myself with a new coding language and enhance my humanities background.

A friend of mine, Grainne who organised a STEAM event in a primary school in Cork this week asked me to chair the panel (which I actually did not do as there was organised chaos happening on the day) and I was equally impressed with the speakers at that event. Passionate about their own work, subjects, disciplines, jobs, hobbies, whatever you call it, their enthusiasm was equally matched with the inquisitiveness of the children. It was amazing to see that their creative minds met and grown ups and kids together were conversing on the same level, in the new language. Children now are enabled by all the coderdojo’s, biocoderdojo’s, designdojo’s, mindcraft, scratch, sketchup and so many more apps and opportunities to learn these new universal languages.

I felt disappointed in myself and overwhelmed by the fact that I had closed my mind to this richness of creativity that has for sure enabled the new digital era. I know 5 languages but feel completely inadequate as I do not know the new universal coding language, which transcends frontiers, borders, gender, race, age, color, religion and all limits we currently either experience or self-impose in our day to day live. (That reminds me, if you want to become aware of your conscious and unconscious bias, do the IaT test, courtesy of presentation at Inspirefest of Philip Moynagh, VP, Internet of Things Group, Intel)

I always thought I had an open mind, but I have been proven so wrong over the last few months and again this week when I was questioned by the children in the school. The children have the open minds and I felt strongly that the more I grew up, I closed mine! I had to think back to my own mother, who was afraid of mice and without questioning, I am now afraid of mice! Does that mean that if we are not comfortable with this new world, we will pass this on to our children? Nurture is a funny thing but very powerful never the less. I for one am making my New Year’s resolution early this year, I am going to embrace this new language and immerse myself in it so that I am not afraid of it. So I can understand my children when they get passionate about creating new virtual worlds and coding new games. I look at my 11 year old and think – boy, she can teach me a thing or two about my new found love!

So to the SAM(@senseaboutmaths) programme organisers – go and multiply – inspire the educational community with your passionate plea for fun in maths in primary schools, make them believe that if we don’t make this universal language fun, we might loose bright brainboxes who could be the next Stephen Hawkings or Fred Kavli! Make sure we get more SAM-MYS out of our primary schools and in to secondary schools. Get the funding rounds approved with the SMART companies in Ireland who need more and more STEAM graduates than ever before. Pipeline our SAM-MYS and STEAM-METTES for the future. You are doing stellar work!

To the STEAM thought leaders – continue to be role models in your disciplines for our next generations, keep driving your amazing minds forward to improve our worlds, our knowledge and our day to day lives. STEAM – you are all inclusive, you bring all the disciplines together and enable us all to be part in this new amazing world. I am honoured to be the A in STEAM but know that for the moment, I am loving you all  – S.T.E. and also you M.

To the SAM-MYS and the STEAMMETTES – you rock and I can’t wait to see what marvel grows out of your beautiful minds.

Any one for a set dance? Or even better, for all 3?

In Ireland and Scotland, set dancing or Cèilidhs is still quite contemporary and made famous by River dance at the Eurosong contest in 1994. Wikipedia advises us that in the olden days, it facilitated courting and prospects of marriage for young people. The music is cheerful and lively, and the basic steps can be learned easily. Knowledge and use of the basic dance steps is not always strictly necessary, and dances often alternate with songs, poetry recitals, story telling and other types of “party pieces”. While Cèilidhs in itself gives rise to an interesting blog, and while I am all for dancing, (it takes 2 to tango! so suppliers, be warned!), I am talking about different “sets”.

I am referring to the ones that will enable any buying team (or even selling team?) to conduct a great negotiation and make (or trigger) the right decision and that will allow them “to do the right things by doing things right”. Below are a few thoughts around the “3 sets” that are necessary to enable this meaningful dance.

Mind-set

  • Open your mind – You will make the wrong, short-term or inadequate decision for the future if you don’t. Let the expert suppliers bring you as far as they can take you for the possible options to consider and embrace the one that will take you beyond your own boundaries.
  • Know the others – Your internal and external customers, the market, the environment and sorry to say, but it is not about you! Do your own homework, research and plan your strategy and tactics ahead and adapt.
  • Know yourself – be honest and clear – what do you want, what do you need? If you do not know, ask for support and let trusted advisors guide you on your path of discovery.
  • Be relevant – stop talking rubbish and focus on what makes every stakeholder in the project want to work together or make them as happy as they can be to do so.
  • Be irrelevant – think outside of the box once in a while and dare to change, sometimes taking a risk is the best way forward, standing still is definitely not.
  • Be passionate – share your heart, trust the other side, dare to believe. If the trust is being misused, you will have learnt a lot for future projects and you still have the silver lining.
  • Be tenacious – don’t suffer fools and measure to improve, continuously, relentlessly, and learn through the process.
  • Be the best you can be – go for gold and collaborate to win.

Skill-set

Referring to one of my previous blogs, I believe that a good negotiator becomes a great collaborator if they:

  • Have a degree in psychology as buyers examine the various aspects of your personal and professional experience, emotions, thoughts and actions.
  • Have majored in accountancy as we too turn to the measurement, processing and communication of financial information about competitive cost-benefit analysis and we challenge your mind with your own financial ratios calculations and are passionate about the bigger picture
  • Are proficient in applying project management practice and will use governance and stakeholder engagement matrix to make all stakeholders behave and pull you back in to line.
  • Cozy up to engineers to understand their process driven but very creative minds, we should crave their engagement and innovation as they see and believe in worlds beyond the current one.
  • Challenge the marketing guru’s view who enlighten me with the new emerging trends and I enlighten them with the practical applications of their clear messages.
  • Manage the terms and conditions through until one of these dubious amended articles (liabilities, indemnities, et alii) are catching me out and I need to consult the real legal profession (love you guys by the way!)
  • Be as knowledgeable or even more than the sales manager. Either I have done my research and am genuinely interested in delivering the Value for Money proposition that procurement professional all want to be recognized. If I fake it, I might get away with it for a while, but I will in time make the wrong buying decisions, which will cost me dearly.
  • Lead like a scouts leader in the olden days, (every one still with me?) it is all about teamwork and high fiving when there is a roadmap to follow and focus on singing along the way, it chases the dragons away.

Tool-set

  • Once you have the right mentality and the multi-disciplinary skills, you would be looking to your company to provide you with the right tools. My opinion about tools – they are “tools” in every sense of the word! In the good sense of the word, they are the  most powerful enablers and should enhance your skillset tenfold, and their use should motivate you to test it to its full potential. In the bad sense of the word, they are just instruments, to help you to do an activity or activities, they do not come with a moral compass and definitely are not fitted out with a panic button when the hammer is going to land right on your thumb, instead of the nail. Bottom line, if you use it wrongly or for the wrong reasons, don’t expect the tool to turn your wrong in to a right.
  • In this digital world, we are all about trying to make sense out of this huge ocean of data, the new free resource that tsunami’s down on us everyday and so we surround ourselves with e-tools, faster, cheaper, easier, better or even smarter, the smarter the better…and what a competitive advantage they can be as they can buy me time, money, effort… But you know what? I only think it is smart if it matches or leads my natural thought process and enables me to see the different options available to me that I hadn’t thought about. Currently the majority churn the same data in different ways – sure they are faster, cheaper, easier, better but smarter? Some tools already are amazingly smart but I beleive it will take another while before tools will be able to incorporate our right mindset too, and without that, they are not as smart as us yet…yet…

Most of the time, dancing is a social interaction with more than one partner. Everyone wants to dance with partners that lead well, who will guide and glide you seamlessly over the dancefloor. But to be best, these leaders need to have the skill and ability to read their partners like a book, pre-empt their every move, pro-actively think out their dance plan and make their partners shine on the dance floor. They need their counterparts to follow them without any reluctance, believe them, trust in them because without them, the leader can not achieve their own goal: to be recognised as the best catch on the dance floor.

Tools, skills, mind, if you have them all, you have the perfect set to succeed, and not only in your dance.

No wonder I am so passionate about soccer!!…

I must admit, I am a soccer lover. I am glued to the box and watch as many matches as I can and comment on many more of them. My son and me, we were the best of buddies when the world cup was hosted last year and we boohooed any comment that did not fit in to our believe of “what good looked like”. And you must forgive me my colourful opening picture as I am Belgian by nurture, Irish by nature; however, as one of the TV ad’s go: Belgian soccer fans are “probably the best fans in the world”

brasil

As a woman, amongst women, loving the game, is by no means an easy admission: It feels like an inner circle betrayal to your sisterhood and you and your choices, intentions and behaviors are now being doubted for ever and eternity… I dared to put myself outside of the circle! I was immediately tarnished with the same brush as all the husbands in the world who wanted to hug that remote control for the 2 months it was showing on the box and we did not want to let go! Passionate people do passionate things…

remote

With all the fraud and upheaval that has surrounded the FIFA leadership team over the years and is rearing it’s ugly head once more, it is probably not the best comparision that you want to draw in the world, however I can not shake the thought that what we do at e-Quiddity, is actually very similar to the world cup in it’s original intent – Selecting the best possible team at a moment in time out of a lot of very promising teams, based on a blend of different decision criteria. (basically, the best possible cocktail of the best ingredients)

coctail

The World cup is one of the most appreciated global competition in a man’s (and woman’s?) world. An awful lot of effort and money is spent by all involved, the organization of the whole event is immense and follows strict schedule and procedures and the result is nothing short of hard labor and conviction by a team that will be hailed as the new Victors for the next 4 years.

Every world cup starts when the last one ends; the teams that were shortlisted and were fortunate to take part, are reflecting on their mistakes, their shortcomings and focus on the improvements that need to happen to get to a better result in the next World cup. For the teams that did not qualify, that were not part of the last 32, they can learn a lot from what can be viewed on the television, the web, the interviews, the player selections, the tactics, the in’s and outs, what would work for them and what wouldn’t…Tactics and strategy, who does not get passionate about that?

strategy plan in soccer

A key element in success of the event is without a doubt the ability to deliver the fairness of play: we are all looking to the referees for that. All the referees are trained in to the rules of the games and the do’s and don’ts to ensure a fair and open game. They are the facilitators of the game and need to make judgment calls on the spot, ad hoc, and to the best of their abilities. Now, we all know that most of the friction, frustration and lively commentary can come from the judgment calls from the facilitators and games can be won or lost by the reaction of individual players or the whole team to these decisions. However, we all know as well that, currently those decisions can not be overturned, even if with new technology applications, the situation can be reviewed again. So until further notice and changes, the decision is final and needs to be accepted by all players involved on the pitch. Calls are made to bring technology solutions in to the game to keep the fairness intact and I do believe in the near future it will happen…

yellow and red card

All soccer loving countries have 4 years the chance to improve their performance of their team in the game on the world stage; While the game does not change, the competition does. New players come online, new coaches use their insight to create new tactics and the right attitude to perform better for the benefit of their country’s name and glory. And is it not always the team effort that wins the cup? Every time, there are outstanding players who come to the forefront, change records and break another milestone, however, it is the team spirit that will lift a good team in to be a great team, an individual player to be a remarkable one.

And because you don’t win this year, or have not even been allowed to take part in the final World cup, does not mean that you wont be at the races the next time around in Russia…

Bidding nation

We all started the worldcup with a selection of our own preferred team(s), who we desperately wanted to win. We all had our own idea who was going to be in the final 4 before the world cup started; We all had made up our minds… however, how many of us have had to revise our point of views? Who was still backing their original team after a few rounds in?

We all saw amazing goals, fantastic individual players; we all were shocked how some of the favorite teams lost, were excluded, did not qualify for the next round, even being overrun, outplayed, no innovation in the game, no spirit in the team, not enough quality, no commitment, not working for each other… whatever the reason was, the result is that some of the teams we thought would be in the final or would do very well, did not make it, were not allowed to proceed, were just not good enough for the final.

qualified

Irrespective of how bad a few people behave and how this affect the perception and brand of the overall event, the World cup is a funnel process of selecting the best team, on the days of performance, against the current competition, with their current abilities and challenges, their yellow and red cards, their injured stars or their individual frame of mind. It takes about 2 months of intense competition, focus and commitment, believing and delivering to the best of their abilities. The winner is the team who has been able to deliver time and time again, against their competitive peers, one to one, one at a time. They benchmark themselves through their play, on their performance and the result is immediate. It is yes, it is no, it is going through to the next round, it is going home.

arbiter

This qualification and selection process of the Winner of the World cup, that is what e-Quiddity offers its clients. And while you as the customer are the ultimate cup to get, and the suppliers are the different teams, we intervene as the facilitators of the process, the organizers of the events but also the referees of the game, minding the rules of the game and ensuring that fairness is key and openness of the game is being safeguarded…. No wonder I am so passionate about soccer, because I am passionate about e-Quiddity‘s delivery of a fair process where the best blend of performance on the different criteria will win the game…

passionate

Come and lie on my couch

couch

A few years ago, I went for some counselling sessions and met with the psychologist, nice guy, and he started off with asking me some random questions such as: Why are you here? What do you expect to get out of these sessions? Who are you?

He did not like my answer…I replied with a qualifying question: “Who do you want to talk to? I have about 10 different personalities who are dying to talk to you and have all different objectives for being here so shout?” He looked worried and just asked me one further question: “ Do you talk to them? And I advised him: “ Not only do I talk to them, they talk to each other and most of the time, we are having a great time, great conversations and lots of challenges but we do get along but maybe that is not for our first session?”…. He uttered: Ok, this is not a healthy situation…

This story might worry you a little bit too… I get it, however I would put it to you that you too have these internal conversations with yourself(ves): you make decisions 1,000 times a day and it depends on the different priorities on that moment, in that hour, for that day, week, month, year that you pick your best possible decision, it depends on what voice in your head or your heart is shouting the loudest.

In an ideal world, Procurement professionals deal with these decisions every day and this is not an internal conversation, but always an external one, as we are facilitators in a real competitive environment where data has become king but trust is divine. We are the interpreters of our internal and external stakeholders who put different demands on us to deliver, the facilitators of the trade game, the referees that need to whistle when one of the players is offside. And sometimes, we are the ones who are offside and we need to be curtailed too. Procurement professionals are – redistributing a lot of money, and getting the decision, the facilitation, the interpretation, the delivery wrong, can cost any procurement professional and his company dearly.

Two things, this decision- making process has in common:

Firstly, it is always about people, people playing with people, selling to people, buying from people. All the modern technology tools of the digital world will not change that, in fact, it makes the ”whites of one’s eyes” even more important. And let’s be honest, pretending that one tool is better than the other is just arrogant. The chosen tool needs to fit the purpose of the brief, nothing more or less, the best value delivery against the objectives should always be the main driver in the choice of tool, it is the people who use it, (or abuse it), that are the differentiators in this process.

Secondly, every game, every play, every competition has rules, rules of engagement, rules of do’s and don’ts, rules that you need to obey, and if you don’t, there are consequences, you are ruled out, you get a yellow card, you lose your queen, the other is being favored. You lose, you are in negative balance, you have a lost sale, you made the wrong decisions, you picked the wrong side, you are penalized.

We as procurement professionals, in-house or outsourced, we can not do the right things and doing it right if we don’t believe and practice the below simple rules and play our role:

  • It is about understanding, qualifying and validating these demands from all your stakeholders and challenging them on all the reasons why and even more the questions why not? Before we can follow the right process to excel as trusted advisors of the decision, we need to know what our customer needs, what he wants, what his walk away minima are and what his utopia is. All these scenario’s of demands are necessary.

  • It is about researching the market, knowing what the supply base can and can not offer, and sometimes thinking outside the box to be able to deliver in the box. It is about knowing the service, product, category, competition, offering, future and past. It is about being or becoming subject, category-matter experts. We are procurement professionals, we have the expertise to lead if you are willing and able to follow the yellow brick road.

  • And last but not least, it is not following the process that will give you the right decision, it is following the process with the right intentions. The selection criteria for the decision and their relative importance to the overall outcome can not be underestimated at all. And how much we want to have the decision quantified, rationalized, analyzed and validated by data, there is always that element of subjectivity, emotionality, likes and beliefs involved that can not be put in a matrix, in a box, on an excel file or a PowerPoint presentation – it is the trust building criteria, the passion you can transfer from your company to theirs, the vision and values you stand for, the people you put forward to over-deliver. It is where the supplier’s value matches the buyers intent. It is where people come towards each other in an equal way, they blend their visions and become change collaborators for the betterment of both parties. I wish I could bottle it, no, I would not be rich, we all would be richer. As R. Satoro says: “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”


We are all actors in a wonderful play in which your rational or emotional decisions will determine the end, before the curtain falls; we are all pieces on a chessboard that either we have in hand or we have to capitulate; we are all players in a team sport and the competition is simultaneously ruthless and personable, fair and unfair; we are all big kids in the playground and some of us are bullies and most of us are not.

Let’s be clear: we are all people dealing with people and I believe that what is true in real life, is as much true in business: “Givers get” (thanks Phil). We all benefit when we take advantage of our cooperative and collaborative natures; let’s all become change collaborators in our respective worlds and guess what? We will all be winners in that play of life.

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