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31 October 2013

European Parliament to legislate for innovation

The European Parliament is expected to formally approve a measure in November that will give public sector bodies the power to assess a tender’s contribution to innovation when awarding contracts for public works, goods or services. It will override previous legislation which demanded public authorities to focus on cost, rather than the wider innovative, environmental, or social aspects of a bid.

Public procurement made up an estimate 19 percent of European Union’s GDP in 2009, making it a powerful lever for achieving innovation in areas as diverse as job creation, climate change, and promoting technological advancement. A better framework to consider a tender’s impact on innovation is therefore beneficial both to the contractor and to the wider economy.

Typically, the EU has lagged behind the US in terms of stimulating innovation through public sector spending, where fixed quotas for government offices and agencies are used as a tactic. A simplified bidding process, e-invoicing and measures to assess innovation in public sector contracts are all techniques which can be used to achieve the same end.

For more information, click here.


29 October 2013

PPI Platform launch offers exciting new resource for procurers

With Europe’s economy facing serious challenges, there is a need to find innovative and sustainable solutions to stimulate the market. Recognising this, ICLEI has co-developed the Procurement of Innovation Platform, an online hub that helps public authorities, procurers, policy makers, researchers and other stakeholders harness the power of Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) and Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP). The platform has been developed with support from the European Commission, and in partnership with PIANOo, REC and IWT. It will be launched today at a high-level event in Brussels (Belgium) on 29 October 2013.

“Public procurement of sustainable and innovative goods and services is one of the essential tools for stimulating new technological or service solutions while helping to create jobs and boosting the competitiveness of the European industry and SMEs. It also encourages more efficient public services.” said Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC and European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. Custom-made to meet user’s needs, the Procurement of Innovation Platform is comprised of three elements: Website, Procurement Forum, and Resource Centre.

The website contains the latest news on PPI and PCP developments and events, as well as policy support, and background information on the European legal framework. The Procurement Forum is a networking space for procurers and stakeholders from around Europe. The Resource Centre provides a database for PPI guidance, making useful documents accessible in one place. In addition, the platform will provide hands-on support. A series of training courses will focus on tools and techniques, while an experience exchange programme will be held between public authorities. European local authorities will also be invited to apply for the Public Procurement of Innovation Award, to be presented to those that purchase innovative, effective and efficient products and services.

For more information, or to sign up to the Platform, visit


24 October 2013

PPI Platform helps public authorities move from theory to practice

As well as online support, the PPI Platform will provide a number of opportunities for public authorities to further expand their PPI and PCP skills. Several one-day training sessions will be held across Europe, each focused on the practical side of implementing procurement of innovation. High-level experts will impart advice, and specially develop training materials will be provided. The first is scheduled to take place on the 28 November in The Hague (Netherlands), at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Additionally, an experience exchange will be held between public authorities. The exchange will see procurers from less experienced organisations travel to advanced organisations to gain a more in-depth understanding of the procurement processes.

As well as developing skills on PPI and PCP by learning from others, participants will also experience new ways of thinking about problems and solutions. Additionally, participants will get the chance to see PPI and PCP in action through field visits. Benefits for host organisations include the opportunity to promote their work on PPI and PCP, and the chance to exchange ideas with committed, enthusiastic individuals.

For more information on applying, click here.


22 October 2013

New report encourages procurers to work with suppliers to drive innovation

A report released by Capgemini Consulting aims to increase the number of procurers driving suppliers to innovate. The document is based on the findings of a survey conducted by the consulting agency, which found that firms that include suppliers in the early stages of innovation projects substantially outperform peers that do not. Innovation is a major aspect of achieving sustainable growth within a business, but must be systematically encouraged, even if this means acquiring new organisational skills and processes.

Identifying new suppliers with which to collaborate is an important step in developing a more innovative supply chain. The creation of Innovation Driven Procurement (IDP) groups is recommended, tasked with delivering more innovations in less time, accelerating design and launch cycles, and improving the end customers’ satisfaction.

It is also necessary to move away from the relationship whereby suppliers persuade buyers to purchase their goods. Instead, purchasers must persuade innovative suppliers to provide goods and services. The report concludes that to be successful, IDP groups must be explicitly organised and focused, and that the procurement organisation must attract and retain the right talent among its staff.

For more information, click here.


17 October 2013

Increasing revenue through innovative procurement

Mondelēz International’s (formerly Kraft Foods) decision to put an emphasis on innovative procurement across the supply chain has resulted in a significant increase in revenue for the business. The company’s procurement policy ensures it extracts the maximum possible benefit from suppliers, procuring innovative goods that are used in each sector of the business. Mondelēz International comprises several sectors (coffee, chocolate, biscuit, etc), each of which had previously coordinated its own procurement activities, often leading to the same suppliers being overloaded with requests and projects.

To address this problem, procurement innovation managers were hired to work closely with the company’s Innovation R&D team and Marketing team. They ensure that all requests to suppliers are related to strategy and focused on business priorities. The managers also link the R&D department with the right supplier, depending on their needs.

Today, at least 50 percent of the company’s growth in net revenue comes from supplier contribution. Another role of the procurement innovation managers is to collect innovative ideas put forward by suppliers and submit them to decision-makers. If the idea is interesting, resources will be put towards it. For its procurement policy, Mondelēz International was awarded first place in the Innovation category at the 2012 Procurement Leaders Awards.

For more information, click here.


15 October 2013

Scoreboard ranks EU countries on eco-innovation

An Eco-Innovation scoreboard has been released, assessing and illustrating eco-innovation performance across the 27 EU Member States. 16 indicators across five thematic areas are used to determine Member States’ strengths and weaknesses in terms of eco-innovation. The tool is particularly useful for policy-makers, allowing for the measurement of a country’s progress against the EU average in each thematic section.

The five indicators used are: eco-innovation inputs, eco-innovation activities, eco-innovation outputs, environmental outcomes and socio-economic outcomes. Most information used to furnish the indicators is gleaned from EUROSTAT, but other measurement sources (e.g. ISO Survey of Certifications, Cleantech, etc.) are utilised. A total of eight data sources were used to complete the tool.

Finland, Denmark and Sweden lead the overall scoreboard, with Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia occupying the bottom three positions. The scoreboard aims to promote a more holistic view of eco-innovation, incorporating economic, environmental and social performance.

For more information, click here.


10 October 2013

Carbonless building blocks set to make construction greener

Carbon-free building blocks are set to revolutionise the construction industry, providing a green alternative to traditional building materials. The blocks are produced by British company Carbon8 using technology developed by the University of Greenwich.

Carbon dioxide gas and industrial by-products are mixed to create a “carbon negative aggregate”, of which 36,000 tons are produced each year. This is then processed by masonry manufacturer Lignacite to produce the ‘Carbon Buster’ block, the first of its type to encapsulate more CO2 than is produced during its manufacture.

“The UK government has targets for sustainable housing and wants new builds to be carbon neutral by 2016. This will be the university’s contribution to that initiative.” said Dr Colin Hills, a Reader at the university and Director of Technology at Carbon8. “We want to apply the technology to different waste streams to make more building materials that are carbon negative, including some new and exciting products.”

For more information, click here.


8 October 2013

Birmingham invites suppliers of energy efficiency technologies to take part in survey

To gain insight into the market, identify potential contractors, and gather views on procurement, Birmingham City Council (UK) are carrying out a market survey targeting manufacturers and suppliers of innovative energy efficiency technologies for retrofitting public buildings. The survey is conducted in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), a private consultancy focused on the construction sector.

Specifically, the survey will look at the market barriers and opportunities faced by suppliers, including small and medium sized enterprises. The knowledge gained by the council will allow it to better promote and encourage innovation, and will help to improve procurement processes for energy efficiency technologies. The survey closes on 10 October 2013.

The market consultation is conducted as part of the Smart Procurement European Alliance (SPEA), a European Commission funded project that aims to improve access to innovative energy efficiency technologies for retrofitting public buildings.

To take part in the survey, click here.


4 October 2013

Launch of the HAPPI Platform

Healthy Ageing Public Procurement of Innovations (HAPPI), a project supported by the European Commission, aims at linking European health public procurers to work cooperatively to detect and purchase innovative and sustainable solutions for prolonging quality of life. The project allows suppliers and procurers to upload details of their solutions so that knowledge of new technologies and products is spread, and the contributing factors to better quality of life are improved.

As European populations are increasingly living longer, more attention must be paid to making sure that the rights and needs of elderly people with regard to autonomy, dignity, mobility, and health and well-being. Part of the HAPPI project’s work will be to consult with medical and technical experts to identify the innovation requirements of hospitals and residential care homes need in order to fulfill its ultimate goals.

Included in these are creating working conditions that foster the benevolent care of the elderly, promoting a culture of gerontological innovation, and responding to the political priority to push for more innovative purchasing in the pursuit of prolonging quality of life in Europe.

For more information, click here.


1 October 2013

Applications sought for 2014 EU Prize for Women Innovators

The European Commission’s Directorate for Research and Innovation is looking for applications for the 2014 EU Prize for Women Innovators, which has been running since 2011. The prize aims to highlight the need for more innovation, and for more women to be involved in innovation.

There are several criteria which applications must meet in order to be eligible. They must reside in an EU member state or a country associated with the Research Framework Programme; they must be a founder or co-founder of an existing and active company which was registered before 1 January 2011; the company must have had a minimum turnover of €100,000 in 2011 or 2012; and all applicants must have received or be receiving funding from the EU or various European research framework programmes.

The 2011 prizewinners came from industries as diverse as drug discovery, healthcare diagnostics and renewable energy, and were from France, Germany, and Italy. The deadline for applications for the 2014 prize is 17:00 CET, 15 October 2013.

For more information and to apply, click here.