PAPIRUS project followed two aims: to procure innovative technical solutions for four pilot sites and to develop a new procurement strategy focusing on the identification and assessment of innovation. The Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) strategy implemented by PAPIRUS has been evaluated by all project partners, led by Enzkreis. The PAPIRUS tenders are related to the construction sector. The experiences of PAPIRUS, however, equally apply to future technically innovative procurements in other sectors.
The PPI process implemented in the frame of PAPIRUS and the validation results are described in PAPIRUS last report which is publicly available on the PAPIRUS website. In the report the PAPIRUS consortium also provides practical, easy-to-implement recommendations for legally certain innovative procurements. With this “toolkit” public authorities are equipped to find their very own approach to procure innovation and finally design their own PPI process, tailor-made to match their procurement needs.
The most valuable insights about PPI are summarized here:
► PPI is neither a new form of procurement procedure nor a new type of contract. PPI is a strategy helping public authorities to achieve more efficient and effective services and technologies by utilizing their considerable purchasing power to foster innovative solutions;
► Innovation refers to the implementation of a new or significantly improved product, service or process. Innovation is not an end in itself, but is always associated with direct benefits for the procuring entity, the users and customers, creating added value. Therefore PPI aims at finding the best solution, a better product or service, for instance in terms of energy performance, sustainability, profitability, user-friendliness;
► Innovation itself was not established as an award criterion in the PAPIRUS tenders. No legally certain way to ensure a fair competition for all bidders allowed to integrate a fair and transparent methodology for evaluating the innovations in the award process and to determine the level and degree of innovation and to compare different innovative solutions on equal grounds. Innovation was implicit in the procurement process (extensive previous market consultation, wider focus on various technical solutions, new target groups and dissemination activities, risk management, ...) and in the technical specifications and the award process (functional descriptions, minimum technical requirements, evaluation of quality over price, etc.);
► Public procurers should see themselves as front runners in the field of strategic procurement. They have a lot to gain: obtaining new solutions customised to their specific needs while at the same time aiming at cost-effectiveness on the long term;
► Consult the market prior to the procurement. Dialogue and communication it the most integral and expedient element of PPI (conduct market events or face-to-face-meetings with relevant target groups like manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, companies etc.; research per web/events/publications);
► Create the tender documents thoroughly, especially the technical specifications and the description of the evaluation process, use functional specifications and performance-based criteria, divide into lots, admit alternative tenders and variants;
► Consider aspects like quality and life-cycle costs besides the purchase price, but don't choose too many different award criteria to keep the submitting of the bids and the evaluation process manageable;
► Limit the request for information and means of proof to the extent absolutely necessary to evaluate the offers and the qualification of the bidders;
► Set yourself enough time for the market dialogue, preparing the administrative and technical specifications including the evaluation criteria and weights;
► You may also need up-front extra expenses to carry out an innovative public procurement, which may prove to be more economically advantageous considering the follow-up or the life-cycle costs.
Finally, it should be noted that the PAPIRUS partners, encouraged and motivated by the results and lessons learned, will definitely keep on carrying out PPI in the future – not only in the construction sector.
Read more in the final report “Validation of the innovative procurement process”.