Is the traditional association dead? Not if you’re proactively evolving your curriculum like ISM!

Posted on March 19, 2012


On the 28th of March I will have an opportunity to talk with ADR International’s Bill Michel about his organization recently being acquired by the Institute for Supply Management or ISM.

Bill Michel

For those of you who have followed both this blog and the PI Window on Business Show on Blog Talk Radio, you know that Bill has been a frequent guest on the show talking about a wide variety of topics ranging from the GM supply chain meltdown to what really happened at Toyota, often times providing both insightful as well as controversial perspectives that inflamed as much as it informed.

Well along this similar vein, Bill will openly talk about the ISM acquisition and what it means within the context of how industry associations are changing in an effort to maintain relevancy for membership especially in critical areas of knowledge delivery through enhanced or updated curriculums.

What is ironic about this acquisition is that back in the Spring of 2009 I had assembled a guest panel that included David Clevenger from Corporate United, Charles Dominick of Next Level Purchasing, Cindy Allen-Murphy from Buyers Meeting Point and Tim McCarthy from IACCM to discuss the topic “Is The Traditional Association Model Dead?”  By the way, here are the links to both Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

While we invariably covered a great deal of ground ISM did come up during the conversation several times, particularly has it related to their then educational offering and whether or not it was keeping pace with the demands of a dramatically changing global marketplace.

According to the many comments we received, one of the most telling was from a purchasing professional who wrote;

Where it once did, the value gained from the traditional Association model can no longer compete for my attention.  I need to collaborate bigger, faster, stronger – and at my convenience.

Associations could better leverage Web 2.0 to deliver a greater level of service to me as a supply chain professional by more actively, rapidly and efficiently aligning with the pace at which new, useful industry information becomes available – then delivering this information in an effective way, so as to keep me abreast of trends, best-practices and exchange ideas with fellow members; thereby making me a more valuable professional.

If done effectively, this would be a value proposition beyond what I see today in many other Associations.  This value, in turn, may then attract membership at a higher rate; thus creating an even larger, and more valuable platform for so many to exchange real-life, real-time expertise and experience – again, contributing to my value as a professional.

Fast forward to 2012, and one of the most immediate reactions to the ADR acquisition, relative to both the panel discussion and corresponding comment(s), is that someone at ISM was obviously listening if not to the show itself, at least to the winds of change that have encompassed the industry for the past few years.

The fact that with the introduction of their own newly launched curriculum and their 25th Anniversary “call to action,” in which ADR challenged the industry to “to build on the impressive improvements in procurement professionalism, standing and the skills set of the procurement community achieved over the past quarter century,” means that ISM not only sought needed change, they sought one of the harbingers of it.

All this being said the Michels interview on the 28th should be as always very, very interesting.

Remember to use the following link to access both the LIVE and on-demand broadcast of “ISM nabs ADR tipping the scales of change in their favor.”