Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

Good procurement for good cities

With restricted sources and little room for failure, choosing the proper procurement technique has been essential for U.S. cities to remain forward of the innovation curve. Normal procurement processes are restrictive. They take time and lack the pliability required to vary and adapt specs to the truth of the issue they’re attempting to unravel. Trying to find the correct accomplice via a aggressive RFP course of might not even make sense when in search of an answer that doesn’t exist but. In consequence, some cities find yourself buying applied sciences which are out-of-date or out-of-scope.

On their finish, innovators prepared to work with native governments know that expertise and motivation aren’t the one keys to success. Persistence and persistence are also required to crack the procurement course of. That is much more correct for early-stage startups that lack the expertise and references typically required to take part in a aggressive bidding course of. They’re coping with the identical drawback job seekers face when trying to find their first job in a market that values expertise. Who’s prepared to take the chance and provides them a primary probability?

The need to supply a flawless framework to draw startups and check applied sciences in a low-risk atmosphere earlier than transferring to full scale (via RFP, as an example) has inspired progressive cities to assume in a different way. An answer has emerged with modularity. By breaking down the procurement course of into items, native governments have been capable of dedicate extra consideration to the primary and most important stage of the procurement course of: the collection of a related expertise.

By breaking down the procurement course of into items, native governments can dedicate extra consideration to probably the most essential stage of the procurement course of: collection of a related expertise.

By calling on distributors to check and display their options at a small scale earlier than transferring to RFI or RFP, cities have been capable of acquire flexibility and agility, determine failures earlier and make the entire expertise of working with native governments a lot smoother. For the innovators, small-scale experiments (a.okay.a. “pilots”) are a possibility to display their skill to unravel real-world issues with real-world options. It permits them to collaborate intently with the cities in creating the specs for a future product or answer.

A forerunner of this strategy is Kansas Metropolis, Missouri. Via its Innovation Partnership Program, Kansas Metropolis has created a sandbox atmosphere to allow innovators to showcase their options earlier than embarking on the lengthy and unsure procurement journey. For town, the benefit is two-fold. It minimizes the dangers related to the adoption of latest options, and it additionally offers town entry to new applied sciences without charge. In return, Kansas Metropolis grants entry to town information and infrastructure to the IPP’s individuals.

“Kansas Metropolis has a robust entrepreneurship historical past,” recollects Bob Bennett, Kansas Metropolis’s CIO. “Our Innovation Partnership Program (IPP) is a metropolis software that permits us to proceed this custom. We welcome firms into Metropolis Corridor to validate an entrepreneur’s marketing strategy or product. When it really works effectively, because it did with Xaqt and RFP 365, the applied sciences make an instantaneous affect on Kansas Metropolis and quickly increase to different communities.”

City labs and innovation packages are a good way to attenuate the dangers related to the normal contracting course of.

City labs and innovation packages are a good way to attenuate the dangers related to the normal contracting course of. It’s additionally a great way to draw progressive distributors to small communities who’ve restricted entry to progressive startups and large issues to unravel. With a inhabitants of just about 80,000 and a really prolonged community of 500 miles of roads and streets, town of Palm Coast, Florida is popping to the non-public sector to deliver progressive options to issues associated to pedestrian security and to common walkability, via testing and experiments.

Modularity is barely fixing a part of the issue. Town of Pittsburgh, which has been on the fringe of public-private partnership for innovation via its city lab known as the PGH Lab, needs to go a step additional. Its management needs to deliver information into the image to guage proposals subsequent to one another and inform the choice course of. To attain this goal, PGH Lab entered a partnership with UrbanLeap, a Palo Alto-based firm chief in innovation administration, to plan, observe and consider the chosen pilots. Via its cloud-based platform, UrbanLeap presents a collaborative house to Pittsburgh and the distributors to have interaction and gather strategic information.

For Annia Aleman, metropolis innovation specialist for town of Pittsburgh and supervisor of PGH Lab, “the platform is taking part in a serious function in bringing transparency to the method, serving to town observe and measure the progress of the pilots in actual time.”

Cities aren’t the one native governments to encourage experiments as a primary step to buy progressive options. San Mateo County within the San Francisco Bay Space has created its personal city lab — SMC Labs — which goals at addressing complicated regional points that span throughout cities. However the county is dealing with one other kind of problem. Strategically situated on the coronary heart of Silicon Valley, the county is overwhelmed with a move of unsolicited proposals. To deal with the scenario, the county can also be utilizing UrbanLeap’s Alternative Administration toolkit to construction and enhance the method of accumulating, reviewing and evaluating the proposals.

Whereas increasingly U.S. cities are competing for the title of Good Metropolis, adapting the procurement course of to immediately’s challenges is essential. However calling on startups to display their options just isn’t sufficient. It additionally requires structured workflows and data-driven options to efficiently check and consider the options of tomorrow.

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