Expanding access to the competitive bidding process creates opportunities for non-traditional suppliers and novel solutions.
Publicize procurement opportunities widely
Expanding the pool of potential suppliers can help cities arrive at the best solutions. Publicizing opportunities widely will encourage proposals from a broader range of actors, including companies of varying size, individual citizens, underserved communities, and teams internal to city government. This more expansive approach, when combined with improved transparency in the contract award process, can help city procurement staff attract the most thoughtful and cost-effective ideas.
Simplify requests for services and products
Requests for proposals that are verbose, poorly written, and difficult to decipher pose a sizable barrier for many would-be suppliers. City staff should make RFPs concise and easy to understand. Plain language requirements can also help improve accountability by making it easier to track outcomes against the original request.
Be open to novel approaches
Opening procurement to greater numbers of respondents may elicit proposals that bear little resemblance to conventional approaches. Cities that are open to such ideas may discover smart solutions that address procurement needs more efficiently and effectively. In some cases, the best answer may not involve procurement at all but rather a change in resource allocation or use of concessions to achieve desired ends.
- Stephen Goldsmith, Governing
Engaging Entrepreneurs to Solve Urban Problems