Our CEO a speaker at the EU Presidency Conference on Innovation Procurement

The Programme for Innovation Procurement organised the Belgian EU Presidency Conference on Innovation Procurement in Brussels on 19. March 2024, within the 2024 Research & Innovation Week. Robert MISKUF, PEDAL Consulting’s founder and CEO, was more than happy to accept the invitation to share his practical experience on innovation procurement.

The international conference took place in close cooperation with the European Commission and the European Innovation Council as a part of the Research & Innovation Week. Its aim was to draw the attention to innovation procurement as a powerful policy instrument to stimulate innovation as well as to contribute to better performing governments, more competitive companies and solving societal problems.

Key learning on using the procurement processes

A dedicated session reflected on how innovation procurement can accelerate green transition. Public buyers, including smart cities, contributed their insights into how available solutions are currently applied, and how to move forward to better leverage the full potential of innovation procurement.

To execute successful and fruitful procurement of innovation, it always takes two to tango. We need empowered procurers as well as courageous suppliers of innovation. How to achieve that?  Very effective way of building capacities on both sides is from the peers. Meaning, procurers learning from the procurers and successful cities learning from cities. This proves to be more powerful than consultants (like us) telling others what to do,” stressed out Robert what we had learned in course of our initiatives BUILD and PROCEDIN.

Obstacles to be overcome

The panellists also discussed the key barriers that hinder the procurement of innovation. PEDAL Consutling’s CEO pointed out, “If it was about one word, I would go for ‘mindset‘. Before we speak about HOW (technicalities), we need to crack the WHY (mindset). From my perspective, stepping out of the box is the biggest challenge for the procurers, especially the public ones.”

From among other obstacles that need to be tackled, Robert mentioned e.g.:

  • the risk aversion,
  • poor involvement of innovative SMEs in public procurement,
  • lack of awareness as to the procedures and available tools,
  • confusion, misinterpretation, fear of corruption allegations,
  • a lack of cooperation mentality (e.g. ask for support, joint procurements etc.)
  • a lack of a well-structured organisation in the procurement departments of public entities
  • limited human resources, skill gaps (COVID-19; fast-track procedures)
  • a lack of incentives and motivation of buying innovative solutions from a new company as well as of awareness, knowledge, experience, capabilities and practical use of legal procedures etc.

Moreover, as good recipes for the success he proposed the following solutions: 

  • cultivating a culture of innovation,
  • investing into capacity building activities,
  • organizing staff exchanges,
  • conducting pilot projects,
  • starting small, going bigger approach.

Empathy mapping: Way of understanding perspectives

Robert Miskuf also spoke about an empathy mapping exercise that we had conducted in the framework of the BUILD project, “Personally, it was one of the most relieving and eye-opening activities I have done for a long time. We organised several dedicated workshops with public procurers in various countries and asked them simple questions. This strategic tool helped us shape our Value Proposition and Engagement Strategy, enabling a deeper understanding of procurers’ needs and challenges.”

In case you are interested to learn more, we invite you to check it out at the BUILD project website:

Unlocking new opportunities

In the closing part, Robert expressed his wish for a greater level of empathy between the procurers and suppliers of innovative solutions. Once they can speak the same language AND understand each other motives and contexts better, all of the sudden, it is possible to unlock so many opportunities. “We gave it a label B2G (Business to Government). But if you boil it down, at the end of the day, it’s people to people,” were Robert’s final thoughts.

Find out more on this high-level event on Innovation Procurement: