Public Procurement for Innovation

Public Procurement for Innovation

Eu-SPRI Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy series

Edited by Charles Edquist, Nicholas S Vonortas, Jon M Zabala-Iturriagagoitia and Jakob Edler

This book focuses on Public Procurement for Innovation. Public Procurement for Innovation is a specific demand-side innovation policy instrument. It occurs when a public organization places an order for a new or improved product to fulfill certain needs that cannot be met at the moment of the order. The book provides evidence of the potential benefits to public and private actors from the selective use of this policy instrument and illustrates the requirements and constraints for its operationalization. The book intends to significantly improve the understanding of key determinants of effective public procurement aiming to promote innovative capabilities in the supplying sectors and beyond. It provides both case studies and conceptual contributions that help extend the frontier of our understanding in areas where there are still significant gaps.

Chapter 11: Conclusions: lessons, limitations and way forward

Jakob Edler, Charles Edquist, Nicholas S. Vonortas and Jon Mikel Zabala-Iturriagagoitia

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, innovation policy, politics and public policy, public administration and management


As stated in the Introduction, this book aims to provide a well-rounded understanding of the key determinants in implementing effective public procurement initiatives to achieve innovative outputs. The book provides both case studies and conceptual contributions that help to extend the frontiers of our understanding in areas where there are still significant gaps. The contributions are deliberately broad and diverse to show the range of issues that still need better understanding and reflection regarding public procurement for innovation (PPI). Out of this range of issues we may extract a set of key messages and implications for further research, procurement practice and innovation policy. The contributions remind us of an important distinction between, on the one hand, the policy of using public procurement to spur innovation as part of demand-side policies, and on the other hand, the public procurement practice that aims to solve a specific societal problem or improve a certain public service and in doing so asks for (and commits to buy) something new. The two are often linked, but PPI as a policy instrument cannot be thought of without the procurement practice on the ground. PPI as a demand-side innovation policy instrument is a systematic attempt by authoritative public bodies to mobilize the purchasing power of the state (national, regional) for innovation policy goals. PPI as practice on the ground has a different logic; the innovation is a necessary means for achieving some other goals not necessarily related to innovation policy.

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