Co-Learning and Knowledge Diffusion in Public Procurement of Sustainable Innovation Projects: The Case of the Cleantech TIPP project

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Over the last fifteen years or so public procurement has increasingly been perceived as an innovation policy instrument (Edler and Georghiou, 2007). The notion that public procurement can be used as an instrument for qualitative change is also well established. UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon concluded recently that “innovation and procurement are viable, tested and proven policy options to achieve sustainable growth in the developed world and, increasingly, in the developing world as well” (UNOPS, 2014. p. 1). The literature treats public procurement for example, as a means to develop green, sustainable or energy efficient technologies (e.g. International Energy Agency, 2000; Erdmenger, 2003, Walker et al, 2012); to replace inferior technologies through market transformation (Neij, 2001); to decrease climate impacts (Nissinen et al., 2012); or to facilitate adoption of innovative health care technologies (Phillips et al., 2007).

Even if the virtues of using public procurement as a means to stimulate change and innovation are increasingly acknowledged, observers note that these ideas have not been adopted in practice to the extent envisaged by policy makers. In debates driven by an ambition to identify and remedy implementation barriers academics and policy analysts have studied (e.g.) the role of the public procurement law and public agencies risk averseness. Distinguishable is also a tension between two approaches how to stimulate the diffusion of more innovation-friendly procurement practices. One perspective emphasizes the role of exogenous pressure, i.e. where lower institutional levels are exposed to mandatory instructions, e.g. to allocate certain percentages of their budgets to public procurement aiming specifically at innovation. Another perspective perceives successful public procurement of innovation as the result of endogenous factors, i.e. prevailing local competence, resources, political support, etc., (Rolfstam, 2013). What becomes important in this perspective is thus, procurers’ ability to learn and develop the necessary skills for successful public procurement of innovation, not so much external pressure.

By drawing on the latter perspective, this paper intends to contribute to the diffusion / implementation discussion by reporting from the Cleantech TIPP project. This is an undergoing Interreg project which gathers primarily municipalities, but also universities, firms and NGO’s in Denmark and Sweden interested in the innovation potential that prevails in municipalities’ challenges in relation to climate change and resource use/ waste handling. A central variable looked into is the opportunities available in the new EU Public procurement directives, i.e. how public procurement can be used to render innovations necessary to solve perceived challenges.

What makes the Cleantech TIPP project novel is that it brings together undergoing public innovation projects that ideally will reach the procurement phase within the lifetime of the Cleantech TIPP project. A central element of the project is to facilitate a marked dialogue with innovative firms potentially becoming suppliers of the solutions to be procured. There are also participants which act as observers without submitting any specific project. The project also invites relevant experts/ consultants in order to support the project. This creates a set-up facilitating co-learning in a situation where not all aspects of the final solutions are known.

Based on qualitative case material (observation studies, interviews, workshop material) from the Cleantech TIPP project, the paper attempts to summarise some conceptual and methodological challenges as well as providing a preliminary analysis to what extent the project set-up is useful as a means to diffuse public procurement practices rendering sustainable innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSustainable City Development Conference - Malmö, Sweden
Duration: 30 Nov 20162 Dec 2016
http://malmo.se/Nice-to-know-about-Malmo/Sustainable-Malmo-/Sustainable-City-Development-2016/Abstracts.html

Conference

ConferenceSustainable City Development Conference
CountrySweden
CityMalmö
Period30/11/201602/12/2016
Internet address

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Innovation
Public procurement
Knowledge diffusion
Procurement
Observer
Energy
Municipalities
Policy options
Resource use
Policy instruments
Consultants
Factors
Waste handling
Political support
Healthcare
Diffusion of innovation
Politicians
Denmark
Public agencies
Suppliers

Cite this

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Co-Learning and Knowledge Diffusion in Public Procurement of Sustainable Innovation Projects : The Case of the Cleantech TIPP project. / Rolfstam, Max.

2016. Abstract from Sustainable City Development Conference, Malmö, Sweden.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

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T1 - Co-Learning and Knowledge Diffusion in Public Procurement of Sustainable Innovation Projects

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