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Innovation Through Contracting

April 13, 2010

Last month, I wrote about the growing interest in more flexible contracts and ‘commercial agility’.

The speed of change in today’s markets has forced many organizations to look at business risk and its management in new ways. This has impacted the way they think about contracts and to innovate in key areas of commercial practice and policy. In my earlier article, I listed some of the terms and clauses that are most afffected.  

For some, the pressing issue is to increase their flexibility and limit the scale and duration of commitments; for others, it is about speed; and sometimes it is driven by issues of competitiveness and innovation. For example, to attract suppliers with high value goods or services it may be necessary to throw established rules and procedures out of the window and explore new ways of partnering.

As I mentioned in the earlier article, IACCM planned to do more in-depth research on these trends – and that research has now started with a brief survey. It can be accessed at and, as with all IACCM surveys, all participants receive a copy of the results. Its purpose is to discover how many industries are thinking in terms of commercial agility and whether it spreads across geographies.

IACCM intends to follow up from this initial survey to explore more specific areas in which contract and commercial innovation is occurring and how these changes are being implemented. This may include selective ‘roundtable’ discussion groups.

It is through change initiatives such as this that contracts and commercial staff gain strategic influence and organizational status. My suspicion is that we will find only a small number who are ‘leading edge’ in this area; but I hope that the ideas it generates will enable others to step forward and raise their profile to new levels.

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