What the World Cup 2022 Taught Me About Procurement’s Parallax View

Posted on December 2, 2022


In 1921 Frederick R. Barnard turned the famous phrase about how a picture “paints a thousand words.” Some say it’s worth a thousand words, but I will leave it to you to haggle over the minute differences. But is what we see or think we see a “true” picture?

To illustrate my point, let’s do a quick visual test. Check out the following “pictures” from moments before Japan scored against Spain to lift them to the Group’s top spot and the World Cup final 16.

The picture above captures what happened leading up to the momentous score that shook the football world. The question: is the ball out of bounds? From this single point of view, the answer is yes; as a result, the play should have been whistled dead, meaning no goal.

However, let’s look at the second picture below.

From this angle or point of view, while close, it is clear that the ball doesn’t wholly pass beyond the white line, meaning it is still in play. As a result, play continued, and the ball ended up in the net.

Depending on the team you are cheering for, it’s either a frustratingly missed call or an exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime joyous moment.

My next obvious question is this: which picture is correct? Which one tells the real or true story?

Before I played the following video, when I first saw these pictures, it reminded me of how procurement has been viewed over the years versus how what we do should be viewed. In other words, which picture represents the old view of procurement (transactional, cost savings), and which one represents the true view of procurement (strategic, enterprise-wide impact)?

Before you answer, let’s first roll that video:

(Insert video here)

Okay, I know what I think after seeing the above pictures and watching the video. What do you think? Do you need to change the way you see procurement?

Posted in: Commentary