Invitation to Collaborate on Functional Public Procurement – Practice and Research

As readers of my homepage know, I have a keen interest in functional public procurement. Therefore, I have sent out an invitation to collaborate on functional public procurement – see below.

From: Charles Edquist <>
Sent: den 26 april 2021 09:16
To: Charles Edquist <>
Subject: RE: Invitation to Collaborate on Functional Public Procurement – Practice and Research


On March 18, 2021, I sent out an invitation to Collaborate on Functional Public Procurement (see below). About 43 persons have indicated that they want to participate. You are one of them.

The purpose is that the members of the group shall exchange knowledge and practical experience in order to develop Functional Public Procurement further. The ultimate objective is that we shall influence innovation processes in order to improve welfare/productivity and save the environment/climate.

The composition of the group is, as intended and expected, quite heterogenous. It includes:

  • innovation researchers
  • procurment administrators and managers in the public sector
  • policy-makers in the field
  • politicians with an interest in functional public procurement

The group is also geographically diffused, in Sweden and internationally.

This heterogeneity is both an advantage and a disadvantage:

  • The great advantage is that people will contribute different kinds of knowledge and experiences – both practical and research-based. And, as we know, interactive learning is crucial in creating “new combinations” (innovations). It will also facilitate the implementation, if the results of the practice, policy and research on functional procurement are integrated with each other.
  • The heterogeneity (together with the size of the group) is also a challenge when it comes to the form and organization of the interaction and collaboration. There are many options: workshops, conferences, Zoom/Skype, newsletter, discussion paper series, etc. Therefore I need to think about how to organize this for some time. (The Pandemic is a contributing reason to delay the start of the activities somewhat.)
  • It also means that you get a chance to influence this decision.

In other words, if you want, please let me know about your ideas on how to organize this! And I will come back to all of you with a proposal in due course!

Best wishes,


PS. If someone else is interested in this collaboration, just send an e-mail to !

From: Charles Edquist
Sent: den 18 mars 2021 11:05
Subject: Invitation to Collaborate on Functional Public Procurement – Practice and Research


You are hereby INVITED to participate in a group that exchanges knowledge and practical experience in order to develop Functional Public Procurement. The basic aim is to influence innovation in order to improve welfare and save environment and climate.

  • Functional procurement is when the public buyer does not describe goods or services (the product), but problems that shall be solved or functions that shall be fulfilled by means of the products (goods or services) to be procured.
  • Public procurement amounts to about 15 % of global GDP. In Sweden public buying is almost 800 billion crowns per year, or 17 % of GDP. The value of public procurement is approximately as large as the value of industrial production in Sweden. All this is spending of tax-payers money; public sector organizations are the market/demand. These resources are many times larger than, for example, the expenditures on Research and Development. Unfortunately, most public procurement is an obstacle to innovations, rather than enhancing them. This is because the general practice in public procurement is still that the buyer describes a product that he wants to procure – not a problem to be solved.
  • Functional procurement can influence the speed of innovation as well as the direction of innovation processes. Functional procurement is therefore particularly powerful as part of pursuing innovation policies intended to mitigate health, environmental and climate problems.
  • The initiative to form this group comes from CIRCLE, which is an interdisciplinary Centre for Innovation Research at Lund University (Home page: Researchers and practitioners are invited to participate in this collaboration. The work in the group will emphasize horizontal collaboration between researchers (globally), policymakers (and policy agencies), practitioners (carrying out functional procurement) and politicians. This is to secure that the research, policy and practice addressed in the program are relevant to each other. It will also facilitate the diffusion and transformation of research results into practical/policy use. We hope that this group develops into a leading global hub for collaboration on functional procurement!
  • The theme of functional procurement is described in more detail at:
  • The level or intensity of your participation in the group does not have to be decided now. If you indicate an interest to participate, you will receive additional information about the work in the group and you will be invited to the first meeting (whatever form it will take). If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail to (For more information about me, please see my home page: If you know about someone else who might be interested in this initiative, please forward this invitation!

Best wishes,

Charles Edquist