Innovation and Public Procurement. Review of Issues at Stake

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The study analyses existing rules and current practices of public innovation procurement the 15 EU-Member States, Australia, Canada, Norway and the USA and provides 9 examples of good practices for concrete procurement activities.

The study concludes that there is no doubt that the case of innovative procurement is both unconventional and difficult but it is gradually coming to the foreground in many European countries and beyond them, both in terms of a political debate and with specific initiatives. However, more often than not, a generalised policy with strategic objectives is not there. Also, there is no simple correlation between an explicit statement of procurement of innovation and policy effectiveness; good cases can be found everywhere. Furthermore, both market forces and policy intervention can be found to lie behind good practices.

The study shows that there are no single best practices in terms of organisation and many models can support innovative procurement. The role of individual actors is important and their opposed interests make the process sometimes very difficult. The crucial issues are intelligence gathering and risk sharing. The new EU framework is neither conducive nor prohibitive but leaves ample room for innovation oriented procurement if national and regional governments wish to do so.

The study recommends that policy intervention at the national level to increase the propensity of involved actors towards innovative procurement can best be done through training to create intelligent customers. Professionalism, skills and training are important elements for this policy. At the level of European policies, intervention can be very effective to stimulate politics rather than policies. The study proposes including innovative procurement in the Lisbon agenda as the most effective way to diffuse this practice.

Publication Information

Edler, J., Ruhland, S., Hafner, S., Rigby, J., Georghiou, L., Hommen, L., Rolfstam, M., Edquist, C., Tsipouri, L., and Papadakou, M. (2006). Innovation and Public Procurement. Review of Issues at Stake. Study for the European Commission (No ENTR/03/24). Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.


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