Chapter 1: Introduction
This book concerns the role of public procurement as a means to stimulate innovation. It manifests an attempt to summarize some thoughts regarding the utilization of ‘intelligent’ public demand that ultimately prompts private sector innovation. Over the last decade the topic has evolved from initially being a matter attracting only scattered attention (mainly in academic circles) to the current state where few would question the idea of using public procurement as a demand-side innovation policy instrument. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for instance, has established that ‘[p]ublic procurement is at centre of recent demand-side innovation policy initiatives. Because of their large purchasing power governments can pull demand for innovation and can also create a signalling effect as lead user and influencing the diffusion of innovation broadly’ (OECD, 2011, p. 11). Although the role of public procurement of innovations has attracted attention in many parts of the world, such as Canada (Currie, 2005), China (US–China Business Council, 2010; Li, 2011), New Zealand (Ministry of Economic Development, 2005), India (Mani, 2003) and Japan (Myoken, 2010), the main concern of this book is the developments in the European Union (EU) in the last ten years or so. For the EU, public procurement was identified as an important tool for reaching the innovation targets drawn up in the wake of the Lisbon Agenda goals, set to increase competitive advantage in a global economy (European Council, 2000; European Commission, 2003b, 2005; Edler et al., 2005).