Is the public procurement process a barrier to innovation?

By Chad Grant posted May 08,2012 09:51 PM

Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a new Government Technology survey call the public procurement process a significant barrier to innovation. Many said government procurement rules make it tough to adapt to changing requirements and adopt cutting-edge technologies while others pointed to difficulties in making financial commitments beyond one fiscal year or engaging in cross-jurisdictional shared services.

The results are based on responses from 51 members of the GovTech Exchange, an online community of senior-level IT professionals from state and local government.

Some respondents said they’re trying to improve the procurement process. For instance, 48 percent said they’re either implementing or considering greater use of pilot projects to try new ideas. But the most popular type of procurement reform was greater standardization of IT hardware and software — cited by almost 70 percent of survey respondents — which may have little direct impact on innovation.

And even though a majority of respondents said procurement rules hinder innovation, many also appear satisfied with their purchasing processes. Indeed, 57 percent rated their jurisdiction’s process as “effective.” Whereas, 35 percent called their processes either “not very effective” or “not effective at all.”
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