Innovation procurement is a strategic tool used to meet societal challenges and pursue new solutions that support and develop public services.
Innovation procurement can lead to higher efficiency and quality in the public sector, while providing public services with a greater benefit to the citizens. Better services with higher quality might be necessary due to growing expectations of the citizens who are increasingly becoming technologically mature, environmentally conscious and socially committed. Moreover, new and improved services through innovation procurement are essential in order to address urgent societal challenges and rapid developments in markets.
The purchasing power of public sector activities can attract a wide range of suppliers to innovation when current solutions are lacking. In addition, a modernized public sector, including an improved range of public services, create better opportunities for new business ideas and innovative small businesses to succeed and grow.
Innovation procurement to meet societal challenges
Sweden faces substantial societal changes that require public services to meet increased demands for welfare services and investments, while the tax base is reduced. There is a need for new solutions that go beyond constant improvements. Companies and organisations comprise a driving force for innovation that public organisations must take on board. Innovation procurement is a tool for enabling the development of those public services needed to meet societal challenges today and tomorrow.
The role of the National Agency of Public Procurement
The National Agency of Public Procurement is commissioned by the government to promote innovative solutions in public procurement and to increase knowledge and skills in innovation procurement. Moreover, the Agency has specific government assignments to stimulate and support innovation procurement through promoting early dialogue and to support pre-procurement purchasing groups. The Agency works to ensure that procurement is a strategic tool in the development of public organisations and facilitates a constructive dialogue between different actors in society.
In order to do this, the Agency provides various forms of support, guidance and information to contracting authorities, entities and suppliers. The National Agency for Public Procurement has developed a comprehensive support material on innovation aimed at diverse types of target group and various levels of maturity. This support material is divided into four principal areas:
- Support materials – web site, guidance documents, brochures and films
- Workshops, seminars and training
- Support for and co-operation with innovation procurement projects
- Support for and co-operation with pre-procurement purchasing networks