On creativity and groundwork
Creativity is a wonderful thing, and all government procurement professionals need to use it in their job; we should all use more of it. One of the missions of Go Pro is to shine the editorial spotlight on creative ways that government purchasers can approach their work while maintaining the highest ethical standards of the profession and ensuring the most responsible use of the public’s money. In my short tenure as editor so far, I have already seen how many professionals approach their jobs with an ambitious enthusiasm — and yes, creativity — that is a tribute to their employers. I have seen that such an approach can pay big dividends to the bottom line. It can also make the job more fun.
The problem with creativity is that it has to be properly channeled. My five-year-old grandson is very creative when he picks up a crayon and a blank sheet of paper, but not even my grandfatherly pride keeps me from recognizing that the resulting creativity is, shall we say, heretofore undeveloped. There is some groundwork missing. Most of us have tried to learn a musical instrument and found that we have to spend hours and hours practicing scales and arpeggios before we can tackle an actual “song.” We can’t drive a car until we understand the laws of the road; we can’t play a game until we learn the rules. Life is full of examples of the need to start with the basics — the groundwork — before getting creative.
The need to learn (before we can excel) suggests that this month’s Go Pro focus on certification is appropriate, especially in our challenging economic times. I have been exposed to the idea of certification in my work in other industries, but nowhere have I seen the level of emphasis as in the arena of government procurement. That makes sense on multiple levels, not the least of which is the amount of money and public trust that are at stake in the decisions government purchasing makes every day. Writing this month’s cover story certainly opened my eyes to the tradition and scope of certification for this profession. I also came away with an appreciation for how certifications can help our readers do their jobs better. We wanted to find a news angle on the topic, which was easy to do as we realized there is a lot of certification development going on at the state level to augment the familiar CPPO and CPPB designations. But certification is also what magazine editors call an “evergreen” topic — it’s always there, and there is always something to say about it. Furthermore, it’s a topic that the industry can always benefit from hearing more about. I asked one of my sources this month what we could tell our readers about certification, and he said: “There are a lot of people who need the training and know it.” Which suggests the question: “Why haven’t they gotten it?” We hope our article moves some of you to make the extra effort.
Just think of it as your music teacher nagging you to practice your scales.
Larry Anderson is editor of Go Pro. He can be reached at [email protected].