iMobility Support hosted a webinar on 25 November 2014 on PCP, Cross-Continental Learning Lab for Innovation Procurements: Approaches in Europe and Canada. 14 ITS Stakeholders attended the webinar. Speakers included Peter Bown, Build in Canada Innovation Program; Ruben Prins, Netherlands Enterprise Agency; and Lisa Silvemark, Trafitverket Sweden – Swedish Transport Agency. The webinar was moderated by Katharina Zwick from AustriaTech.
Opening the webinar, Katharina Zwick explained the importance of PCP for the iMobility Support project. One of the tasks of the project is to bring more innovation to the public procurement procedures for ITS. iMobility Support develops multiple initiatives in this regard. The objectives of this webinar was to enable mutual learning, share experiences and best practices, promote the understanding of the legal and organisation framework and offer a look abroad. The webinar started with a focus on the legal background and framework perspective of PCP including a comparison between Europe and Canada. The final part of the webinar dealt with best-practices and lessons learned from the different approaches and a look at the next steps and future prospects.
Peter Bown kicked off with presenting an overview of the relevant legal and organisational framework and context of PCP and PPI in Canada, the relevant Procurement stakeholders in Canada and the typical characteristics of Canadian PCP and PPI projects. Peter Bown presented the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) of the Public Works and Government Services Canada, the primary procurement provider for the Federal Government of Canada. Canadian procurement is governed by domestic and international trade agreements. With the BCIP’s competitive procurement process, the government buys innovative pre-commercial goods and services, which are quite close to market, and tests them in government departments. The program helps bridge the pre-commercial gap, enables real-world feedback and evaluations, provides reference sales for Canadian businesses and improves government operations. Starting the program the response from the businesses was huge and they also had a big part in making the program permanent. Priority areas of the program include the environment, health, enabling technologies, and safety & security, or can be military in nature. These priority areas of the program have been built very open, with not to strict delineation between them. The reason for this was to foster innovation and not hinder it with assignments to predefined topics. All proposals must meet the mandatory criteria and pass the screening criteria of readiness and commercialisation capacity. Canada is using a very high level of product readiness now (Canadian TRL6) because they learned that a product that is still stuck in the R&D Phase and not ready for testing/prototyping is not very likely to succeed in reaching deployment. Top-ranked innovations that are pre-qualified are then eligible to be matched with a testing department for a contract. Once a match is made, a contract for testing is negotiated, the innovation is tested in a federal department, and feedback is provided after the test has been completed.
The BCIP brings benefits both to the Canadian business world and to the federal departments. The program allows businesses to receive feedback on innovations tested in an operational setting, connect with potential clients in government departments, showcase innovations and learn how to sell to the Government of Canada. In order to address their departmental challenges, the federal departments find innovations not yet available in the market. They can test, use and access the latest innovations, increasing government efficiency.
Answering a question on the criteria for proposal evaluation, Peter Bown confirmed that the definitions and all relevant info is available on the BCIP program’s website (https://buyandsell.gc.ca/initiatives-and-programs/build-in-canada-innovation-program-bcip).
From the Canadian program to the Netherlands, Ruben Prins from the Dutch Enterprise Agency presented a comparison between the EU and the Dutch approach in terms of PCP. In the Dutch model, PCP is one of the many tools in the public procurement of innovation. PCP by the Dutch Enterprise Agency is conducted in a phased approach, which reduces risk, allows for competition between tenderers, and is conducted in an open, fair and transparent way. There is no exclusion in the procurement phase. Key success factors of PCP include clear specification of the problem, not the solution; real involvement of the procuring authority and arrangements for the government to use the IPR through licensing while the suppliers own them. PCP in the EU is governed by the Directive 2014/24/EU applicable when there is no co-financing of R&D programmes by industry sources and the outcome of the R&D activities goes to the contracting authority concerned. Comparing the EU-PCPs with national PCPs, it is evident that EU PCPs have bigger market potential, what potentially attracts more companies to take part, and they allow sharing the financial burden. On the downside, EU-PCPs are more complex because they involve cross border collaboration, strict EU reviews and legal complexity.
Lisa Silvemark presented the Electrified Roads project by the three governmental agencies: Swedish Energy Agency, Vinnova and the Swedish Transport Agency. The purpose of the project is to create a knowledge base for industrial, academic and political decisions on possible future development and implementation of electrified roads in the Swedish road traffic system for heavy traffic. PCP is important when there is an idea that is not ready yet and there is a need for a solution. The PCP project includes the qualification of the participants, the description of the idea, the detailed design and the demonstration plant that will result in a knowledge base.
As for lessons learned, Peter Bown mentioned that definition matters, the support of the private sector is key, and a good idea will find a way to succeed. Mr Bown emphasized that a key priority is to have a quick evaluation process of the proposals keeping the time from the first evaluation to the final feedback as short as possible, because it is crucial for many small Businesses and especially start-ups, as they might not be able to survive a long waiting period.
During the subsequent Q&A session, a question was raised on how easy it is for public procurers to define the problem. Speakers agreed that the PCP approach and transfer of knowledge are hard to implement: people are risk averse and reluctant to change. A cultural shift is required and governments need help to be more open to improve their services via PCP. Also, a lot of people involved with PCP have a R&D background and it is important that needs are translated between R&D and the PCP department. Referring to the Canadian example, Peter Bown informed that the Innovative Procurement in Canada has its champions such as aerospace and the defence sector; but there is a vast majority of people with limited to no experience regarding public procurement.
On the question how PCP will evolve in the future, Ruben Prins explained that in Europe PCP is still developing and the tool might also change in the future. He expects its importance in Europe to increase. Peter Bown believes that the current programs are changing people’s perception of innovation. However there is still the issue of unsufficient knowledge transfer to other groups. Lisa Silvemark believes that PCP as a tool will be used more in Sweden in the future since it is a good tool that matches specific needs. Finally, before concluding the webinar, presenters answered the question what according to them is the most important element before starting a PCP project. According to Lisa Silvemark, market consultation is key. Ruben Prins stated that the PCP process should focus on what governments have to gain by innovation, not on helping companies to sell their products or services. To conclude, Peter Bown observed that there are still too many analysts and policy makers who talk about PCP but do not understand it. The challenge will be to close the gap.
Last modified on Monday, 01 December 2014