5 Lessons Learned from BUILD’s Innovation Procurement Training Sessions

The BUILD project organised a series of transformative, practical training activities in March and April 2024 that brought together stakeholders from across Europe. Although they were based on local successes and tools available in Finland, Estonia, Slovakia, and The Netherlands, the impact of Innovation Procurement can extend across all European communities. We invite you to get familiar with key insights and future direction of innovation procurement.

Public Procurement of Innovation (PPI) has the potential to foster collaboration between public procurers and innovation suppliers, driving a sustainable future and a competitive market. That is why the BUILD project partners created training sessions around this topic in:

  1. Turku, Finland
  2. Tartu, Estonia
  3. Tatra region, Slovakia
  4. Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  5. Online – a free webinar on successful Innovation Procurement cases across BUILD partners (rewatchable here)


Each training session featured local experts and successful strategies from the respective regions. Despite the varied contexts, five key lessons emerged that are applicable in various countries.


Lesson 1: The Power of Peer Learning and Networking

The power of peer learning and knowledge sharing is one of the most notable lessons. In the sessions, participants engaged in real-time, face-to-face discussions, exchanging insights on topics like market dialogues and outcome-based procurement methods. The interactive nature of the sessions fostered a collaborative environment, enabling stakeholders to learn from each other’s successes and challenges.

The difference between the online webinar and in-person training is significant. While the theory and concepts are the same, the most impactful factor is the ability to build or strengthen relationships among public procurement professionals and experts. These connections are invaluable for enhancing Innovation Procurement through practical advice and strategic partnerships.


Lesson 2: Identifying the Need for Innovation

A recurring theme was the importance of recognising the need for innovation in procurement practices. As cities face complex challenges like climate change and societal transformations, the demand for innovative solutions grows. However, knowing when and how to implement innovative procurement methods is crucial. Through case examples and discussions, participants learned to identify the need for innovation and develop effective procurement processes.


Lesson 3: Overcoming Barriers to Innovation

Despite its potential, innovative procurement faces many barriers, including budget constraints, resource limitations, and cultural mindsets. However, through collaborative efforts and capacity-building initiatives, stakeholders can overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of innovation procurement to drive positive change.


Lesson 4: The Importance of Concrete Case Examples

Concrete case examples proved to be invaluable learning tools, providing participants with practical insights into innovative procurement practices. This format met the requests gathered during the Market Consultation and questionnaire conducted by BUILD in previous months. By exploring real-life scenarios, stakeholders gained a deep understanding of the complexities involved in innovative procurement processes. Additionally, strong partners and well-prepared training structures attracted participants and ensured the success of the training activities.


Lesson 5: Fostering a Culture of Learning

The most overarching lesson was the importance of fostering a culture of learning and continuous improvement within the procurement community. As cities navigate complex challenges and opportunities, the need for procurement expertise becomes increasingly important. By investing in capacity-building initiatives, peer learning platforms, and knowledge-sharing networks, stakeholders can equip themselves with the skills and expertise needed to drive innovation and sustainability in public procurement.


Future Directions: Building on Success and Shared Goals

As the BUILD project approaches its conclusion in September 2024, the lessons learned from the training activities will guide future efforts to build a comprehensive knowledge library on PPI and a strong community of learners and practitioners. Our goal is to leverage existing knowledge and capacity-building initiatives to create a one-stop reference for all PPI stakeholders.

A first step in this direction is the creation of the Innovation Procurement Task Force (IPTF), a group of several European-funded projects focused on scaling up Innovation Procurement. Together, we are organising the Scaling-Up Innovation Procurement in Europe (SIPE) Conference, which will gather insights from two years of collective work.

We look forward to seeing you there on 18th June 2024 in Brussels.
Register here to join us in enhancing Innovation adoption!

Useful Links


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.