Methods and tools overview

It is possible to identify three stages of an innovation procurement process:

Preparation Market engagement Pro-innovation tendering
  • Identify the unmet need
  • Identify and consult stakeholders
  • Set up a project team
  • Define requirements in outcome terms
  • Open market consultations
  • Analysis of responses
  • Market engagement report


  • Pro-innovation procurement strategy definition
  • Launch tender/process
  • Tender and contracting process
  • Contract management

Stimulate innovation with outcome-based specifications.

Choosing innovation-friendly processes and procedures

  • Adjust ready-to-use innovation procedures
    • Competitive procedure with negotiation
      • any economic operator may submit a request to participate in response to a call for competition by providing the information for qualitative selection that is requested by the contracting authority
      • In the procurement documents, contracting authorities shall:
        • identify the subject matter of the procurement by providing a description of their needs and the characteristics required of the suppliers, works or services to be procured
        • specify the contract award criteria
        • indicate which elements of the description define the minimum requirements to be met by all tenders
      • The information provided shall be sufficiently precise to enable economic operators to identify the nature and scope of the procurement and decide whether to request to participate
      • only those economic operators invited by the contracting authority following its assessment of the information provided may submit and initial tender which shall be the basis for the subsequent negotiations
      • Competitive procedure with negotiation offers public buyers more flexibility in awarding contracts, where readymade solutions are not available on the market
  • Competitive dialogue
    • any economic operator may submit a request to respond to a contract notice by providing the information for qualitative selection requested by the contracting authority
    • Contracting authorities shall set out in the contract notice and in a descriptive document:
      • their needs and requirements
      • the chosen award criteria, on the sole basis of the best price-quality ratio
      • an indicative timeframe
    • Only those economic operators invited by the CA following the assessment of the information provided may participate in the dialogue
    • CAs shall open, with the participants selected, a dialogue the aim of which shall be to identify and define the means best suited to satisfying their needs
    • During this dialogue, all aspects of the procurement with the chosen participants may be discussed
    • CAs shall not reveal to the other participants solutions proposed or other confidential information communicated by a candidate or tenderer participating in the dialogue without its agreement
    • The economic operators are asked in the final phase to present the final tender based on the changed technical specification or other procurement documents

The innovation potential of this procedure consists in the wide range of solutions that participants can propose. In this context of a close and thorough negotiation, candidates should have enough time to receive all relevant information to provide an innovative tailor-made solution. The innovative character may consist of technical, financial or administrative aspects or completely reshuffling the public buyer’s operational process.

The competitive dialogue is, without a doubt, a more complicated and complex procedure than others. It is not very often seen in some European countries.

Share and exchange best practices.

  Guidance on Innovation Procurement (

  The EAFIP Toolkit

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