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Ovation 2021: Vision, Purpose, Self

Nandini Basuthakur

Ovation 2021 was indeed a "Festival of Inspiration & Personal Growth." Now in our eighth year, Ovation is the most influential, global community of group-level CPOs. It was a privilege to witness the power of the Procurement Leaders’ community coming together to help shape the future of a shared recovery for organizations, industries and societies.

We were joined by an inspiring cohort of our most progressive members with 62 Group CPOs from 19 countries engaging in candid conversations, provocations and applications around some of the most pressing challenges we face: climate change, mindset change, drive for equity & fairness, transparency, and empathy – while delivering returns to shareholders & stakeholders.

Our line-up of visionary guest speakers to stimulate ‘outside-in’ views and drive both divergent and collaborative thinking included:

Dambisa Moyo, Economist, Author & Board Director, 3M & Chevron

Profit versus Purpose: Driving Positive Growth

Dambisa addressed the evolving role of corporate boards, new models of governance, a renewed emphasis on ethics and the evolution of senior leadership. “Boards are now expected to opine and to provide oversight on what I would call the “cultural frontier” which includes issues around data privacy; environmental, social, and governance issues; pay equity; gender and race diversity; worker advocacy; geopolitical tensions; and concerns about short-termism, to name a few. Boards need to navigate through this long list of challenges and how they hold management accountable for the important and expanding role that purpose plays in corporations.” How are we thinking through the trade-offs?

Hernan Saenz, Head of Global Performance Improvement Practice, Bain

Race to Trace: Paving the Path to Resilient, Sustainable Supply Chains

Across industries, sustainability—and the supply chain traceability on which it depends—is the cost of entry for companies today. Hernan cited his prediction that “companies with traceability will operate on a different performance curve.” Expectations and demands on supply chains continue to increase exponentially, as they must now simultaneously be fast, efficient, customizable, resilient, and sustainable. Digital traceability is emerging as the great enabler to meet these challenges. But how and where do you start? How can we enable and accelerate companies’ traceability transformations? 

Kanya King, Founder & CEO of MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards

From MOBO to MOBOLise

Kanya is recognized for the role she’s played in raising the profile of black music. With an ambition to diversify the music scene, MOBO has also become a platform for discovering new talent and fostering positive change in British culture. Kanya challenged us to use the learnings from the pandemic to reset and emphasize values. “If we really want to rebuild the world to be a fairer society, then we must collaborate to accelerate, with decisions made for the benefit of communities across the globe, so we address the inequalities that have impacted our society for simply too long.” Forward leaning organizations realize this is the way to go as it will positively impact their bottom-line. How can the right attitude, persistence and self-discipline help move the needle on fairness, inclusivity and diversity?

Jamil Qureshi, Performance Coach, Psychologist & Author

Think Differently, Act Differently

Success is the connection of two things that were previously unconnected.” The future demands us to be different, with a shift to understanding the value we create. How do we become both future relevant and future literate? Jamal’s knowledge of optimizing human potential comes from his vast experience of working with some of the world’s top individuals and teams in sport, business and space. How do we need to think, feel and act as leaders? Attitude is everything. We need to “dance on a shifting carpet rather than see the rug pulled from under our feet.

Grace Lordan, Behavioral Scientist, Author & Associate Professor, LSE

Experimental Leadership

Grace is an expert on the effects of bias, discrimination and technology changes. Rooted in behavioral science, an experimental leadership style is about how decision making is impacted by modes of thinking, with the notion that regular small positive actions have a disproportionately large positive effect on outcomes. Experimental leadership helps organizations adapt, enables employees to be more resilient and allows leaders to circumvent groupthink and hear all voices in a team. How might we approach projects and situations with a scientist’s mindset and put experimental leadership into practice?

Three short concluding remarks:

  1. Making humanity’s future the cause of the present is certainly omnipresent.
  2. We can collectively use our strengths and implement dynamic solutions for some of the world’s greatest problems.
  3. The hard work starts now!

Thank you to everyone who attended. My personal gratitude to all our guests, our members, our loyal and valued partner organization, Bain & Co and my colleagues for making Ovation 2021 a wake up call but rejuvenating experience!

Nandini Basuthakur
CEO, Procurement Leaders
Global Talent Officer, World 50 

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