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Title: Innovation and Public Procurement. Review of Issues at Stake

Year of Publication: 2006

Contractors: Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research

Languages: EN

Proceedings of the First Specialized Research Workshop on Managing Growth
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Category: Innovation policy

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.


Case studies:

The following cases were analysed:

Cases Title Country Download
CASE 1 New lighting systems (Hamburg) Germany
CASE 2 Innovative telecommunication equipment of a municipality Germany
CASE 3 Electronic File Management Austria
CASE 4 Maritime Radio System Norway
CASE 5 Procurement of regional transport system in Zaanstreek Netherlands
CASE 6 Variable Message Signage for UK Motorway Network United Kingdom
CASE 7 Energy Saving Procurement Italy
CASE 8 Public key infrastructure Netherlands
CASE 9 Benefit Card United Kingdom

Countriy overview:

The Project Team was assisted by a group of external experts who commented on the research findings

  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Fortea - Purchase Assistant Director Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (France)
  • Peter Stannack MSc - Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply(UK)
  • Dr. Kathrin Hornbanger - Hornbanger law firm, former Director Legal service Bundesbeschaffung Gmbh, the Austrian Central Procurement Agency (Austria)
  • Mr. Theodoros Karounos National Technical University of Athens(former Director of the managing authority of the Information Society Operational Programme (Greece)
  • Prof. Gustavo Piga - University of Rome, former President of CONSIP Sp.A the Italian Central Procurement Agency (Italy)
  • Mr Hans Nilsson - Procurement consultant 4-Fact (Sweden)
  • Mr Jan Pieter Papenhuijzen - Procurement consultant Significant B.V. (Netherlands)
  • Mr. Colin Cram - Director North West Centre of Excellence


The views expressed in this document are purely those of the writer and may not, in any circumstances, be interpreted as stating an official position of the European Commission.
The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information included in this study, nor does it accept any responsibility for any use thereof.
Reference herein to any specific products, specifications, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by the European Commission.
All care has been taken by the author to ensure that he has obtained, where necessary, permission to use any parts of manuscripts including illustrations, maps, and graphs, on which intellectual property rights already exist from the titular holder(s) of such rights or from his or their legal representative.