23 September 2010 | Steve Bagshaw
About 300 people gathered this morning for the start of the CIPS Conference 2010 in London.
At the event, chaired by SM columnist Stefan Stern and introduced by CIPS president Shirley Cooper, delegates first heard a lively and entertaining speech from Sir Richard Needham on innovation.
Drawing on his experience as a director of Dyson and a Northern Ireland secretary, he gave a wide-ranging account of life in Belfast during the troubles, the requirement for smaller vacuum cleaners in Japan and the pleasures of town-twinning in Naples.
Such is his timing and humour that it felt sometimes like a stand-up comedy show, but he had an important message on innovation for buyers.
He was followed by John Timpson, founder of shoe repair company Timpson, before delegates broke away for sessions on outsourcing, law and the relationship between procurement and finance.
The conference and exhibition, in association with Office Depot, will later hear from speakers including former cabinet minister Michael Portillo.