Print Page | Sign In | Register / Create a Profile
Innovator's Forum
  The Innovators Forum is an annual event that seeks to improve the knowledge base of our membership and helps facilitate a move towards strategic initiatives.

NAEP Innovators Forum


Higher Education procurement has been in a state of transformation . Over the past several years, there has been considerable movement from tactical operations to more strategic activities in many of our institutions. As a result, procurement professionals are becoming strategic partners to their campuses. And yet, many departments and institutions struggle with how to move from the tactical to strategic. In 2011, NAEP recognized the need to discuss critical topics at a deeper level than was possible at regional or annual meetings and created the NAEP Innovators Forum to improve the knowledge base of our membership and facilitate a move towards strategic planning and innovation.


The purpose of this forum is to create a space that engages members in discussion and analysis of major procurement issues impacting colleges and universities while seeking to better inform our members on alternative ways to deal with these challenges. To do this effectively and successfully, we pull together a team of senior institutional officers, outside stakeholders and procurement leaders to consider the significant trends and driving forces affecting our ability to make a strategic impact and increase our level of contribution.


The goal of the Innovators Forum is to bring together industry thought leaders to thoroughly explore the critical issues and operational challenges where procurement can make a difference. The outcome provides our membership with a white paper that contains 8-12 key strategies and actionable steps that provide individuals and departments with a roadmap to help them accomplish their campus objectives in a meaningful way.

IF White Papers

The Innovators Forum is an annual event that was first held in 2012. Past white papers can be found by clicking on the IF White Papers tab above.

Call for Participation in 2018 Innovators Forum

To be considered for the 2018 Innovators Forum please click here

Call for Participation

NAEP is opening a Call for Participation to be a part of the 2018 Innovators Forum.
The application will be open from July 26th to August 16th.

Application Process

  • Complete the Application for the Innovators Forum
  • Applications will be accepted from July 26th to August 16th, 2017

Application Instructions and Review

All applications are reviewed via a rubric measuring the relevancy and completeness of the responses. The rubric categories are the application questions. Once you open the application, you will see the questions. Responses are in an essay format. You will also be required to upload your resume.


  • Click on any of the application hyperlinks
  • Click on "create profile" and submit your data
  • Click on "new submission"
  • Upload your resume
  • Answer questions in text box
  • Save and exit. Return any time before the deadline to edit your submission.
Innovators Forum Applications will be selected using some of the key identifiers below:
  • Applicants are selected based on their expertise as it relates to the topic for discussion for that year. (see 2018 Abstract for topic) Applicants should have significant accomplishments related to the topic and/or are taking action steps towards recognizing the importance of the topic. Applicants may have experience outside of higher education that lends itself to furthering the strategic discussion of the topic.
  • Outside consultants are considered for their relevance and importance to the value of the topic.
  • Outside stakeholders make recommendations based on their knowledge of prospective invitees.
  • CBO's are always an important stakeholder to NAEP and are invited. At times, NACUBO may be asked for recommendations.
  • NAEP's sitting President is invited to the Innovators Forum.
  • All costs for participating in the Innovators Forum are paid by NAEP

*2018 Innnovators Forum On-Line Application*

The NAEP Innovators Forum is graciously supported in part by Jaggaer and Stonebridge Ventures Inc.

Innovators Forum Abstract – 2018 (Business Analysis)

TITLE: Business Analysis – Your Pathway to Excellence

The Innovators Forum continues to explore important topics that move the higher education procurement profession toward increasing levels of strategic impact. To operate strategically, we need a plan and the plan should be directed toward goals that matter to customers and stakeholders. The goals should be meaningful and directed toward 'moving the needle' to make a difference. When we know what those goals are, then we need to align, direct and supervise scarce procurement resources toward their achievement. It is hard to underestimate the importance of using data analysis as effectively as possible to accomplish this mission.

Most procurement leaders acknowledge the importance of data analysis and many have taken significant steps over the past few years to improve their capability. However, as an industry we are still in the infancy stage of executing with leading practices. Data analysis should not be thought of as just an activity carried out by one or two specially trained individuals, but as a competency that each team member should be required to demonstrate some level of core skills. If data analysis is to become part of our 'DNA' and the way we operate, then there are a variety of important issues to consider. Do we have a spend analytics capability and if so, what is it used for? Do we operate against a 'scorecard' and if so what metrics and indicators do we monitor? Are those indicators 'key' or 'strategic'? What data should we be providing to our customers and why? What data should we be sharing with our key suppliers and why? How does the executive team view our operation, what is their 'data window' into our operation and how does this impact our 'brand image'? Are we skilled enough in our data analytics to make a collaborative impact on other key functions? For example, can we support the facilities, information technology and research communities with our skill set? Are we skilled enough to analyze the performance of our own operation to remove non-value added activity and focus on activities that drive impact?

This Innovators Forum will focus on identifying the essential elements of data analysis in higher education procurement. We will explore the many important uses of data analysis to support procurement operations from goal setting to spend analytics to negotiation support to operational decision-making and to answer the questions listed above. We will debate the use of data analysis to establish goals and indicators and discuss differences in the terms 'metric' and 'key performance indicator'. We will explore the business case for using exceptional data analysis and visualization techniques. What are the leading data analysis practices and the best organizational design? What data do our key customers and suppliers want from us? Through discussion and facilitation, the group will develop the key program characteristics to utilize data analysis and identify the primary action steps necessary to execute at a high level. We will suggest next steps for procurement groups who are at the beginning stages of using data analysis and steps for more advanced teams to take their activity to the next level. And finally, we will discuss barriers and challenges to improving "data analysis" practices and steps we can take to overcome them.

  • Define what is meant by "data analysis";.
  • Identify key principles and leading practices of "data analysis management"; and .
  • Suggest and help develop a "roadmap" of action steps to communicate and deliver on enhanced data analysis practices.

NAEP National Office, 8840 Stanford Boulevard, Suite 2000, Columbia, MD 21045

Phone Number: 443.281.9901 • Fax: 443.219.9687

Copyright © 2020 National Association of Educational Procurement. All rights reserved.
Report Broken Link | Privacy Policy