Public procurement of services is trapped in conservative ways of thinking where selection of services is mainly based on price alone. A new mind set and clear incentives for procuring, is crucial if the procurer aim to use public procurement as a tool for stimulating innovative services.
The regulative framework and interpretation of the rules are generally hampering innovation and tend to make procurers risk aversive. There is therefore a great need for increasing the competence of the procurers of how the rules work and how they can be used to reach innovative solutions. By understanding the market and the public needs, the public procurer can drive innovation from the demand side and help companies to find new market opportunities.
The procurement of innovative services is not linked to the traditional concept of procurement where R&D and development are main ingredients. Instead the focus of this kind of procurement is the actual service, a service innovation new or improved taken into practice, says Petra Nilsson-Andersen, Senior Advisor at the Nordic Innovation Centre. Ms. Nilsson-Andersen presented the conclusions of the study on 4 March at a workshop on innovative public procurement, arranged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Stockholm. The results of the workshop will contribute to the development of the national Swedish innovation strategy.
The study describes both national and sub-national initiatives and programmes in the Nordic countries, promoting innovative services through public procurement, as well as cases from other European countries. Among the Nordic countries, Finland has presented the most interesting cases of promoting innovative services.
The regional Innovative Public Procurement development programme of public services was launched 2008, and promote the creation of new models of public services. The Nordic Innovation Centre would like to further influence the debate on how public procurement can stimulate innovative services by designing a project in close dialogue with Nordic stakeholders.