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Innovative procurement of smart city solutions

On this page you will find lessons learnt that are distilled from various workshops that the SCIS team attended. The most important points are summarised, giving a quick overview of the challenges / barriers but also solutions with regard to each topic.
Innovative Procurement of Smart City Solutions
Lesson identified at: 

Challenges

To push innovative procurement of smart city solutions, cities need to overcome some difficulties. On a social and behavioural level, incentivising stakeholders, convincing politicians and decision makers to go for innovative procurement as well as gaining the political support for collective joint procurement can be challenging.

Furthermore, the lack of professional knowledge and  the often occurring situation in which only a limited number of offers are received to deliver an innovative solution may present problems. Also the compliance with regulations (e.g. data protection) could be challenging.

Also the governance actors will face various barriers. For them, it will be challenging to collaborate with companies in the early stages and to define the purpose of the tender. To make things even more complicated, they are often faced with a lack of time and standardised formats, as well as silo thinking. Moreover, being able to choose innovative rather than cheap solutions is not to be taken for granted.

Recommendations

Policy wise, the creation of more smart centres for procurement and training people are highly recommended. Besides, it is advisable to make use of open calls and/or competitive dialogue as well as to involve more sustainability criteria in the tender. Smaller cities can also join forces during procurement to receive better funding. Moreover, there is the possibility to outsource the main tendering process.

Plan for Implementation

To take the endeavour to another level, good examples that can be shown to stakeholders should be collected. It is also important to set priorities in order to decide on the purpose of the tender and to avoid procrastinating the initiation of the tendering process. Scaling-up from pilot to city level as well as scaling-up the collective procurement to other regions/municipalities in the country are some of the next steps to be taken.

It is also required to work at a high political level. Therefore, a transparent and good organised state ministry for procurement could be created.

And last but not least, separate procurements for different components of a larger product should be used.