Published in  
Innovation
 on  
February 24, 2021

Steering RFP Innovation

Even after showing stats that US agencies spent close to $7 trillion on various purchasing needs in 2018, we still frequently come across strong opinions and objections.

Even after showing stats that US agencies spent close to $7 trillion on various purchasing needs in 2018, we still frequently come across strong opinions and objections:  

  • RFPs are dead.
  • Government selling or competitive bidding doesn't apply to my business.
  • We don’t have enough experience.
  • We’ll just get priced-out by someone under-bidding us.
  • US agencies are difficult to deal with.
  • We’re too busy right now.

Under the current system and with the current market offerings (excluding ours), they may be correct to a certain extent. Unfortunately, a lack of passion comes across subtly with evaluators, who contend that they can “smell a vendor’s enthusiasm” (a direct quote!).  

We’re excited by innovation and leveling the playing field for businesses of all sizes. A high degree of eagerness, passion, and adventure mixed with caffeine and sunshine (we’re based in LA) define the reality of our work.  

Contractors and vendors of every type can steer innovation at the procurement level without even using a third party. Wait, how?!  

By engaging at the pre-RFP level, by making powerful suggestions and offers that speak to pain points experienced in that agency’s community, and by providing creative solutions/pricing/alternatives against the grain and counter the norm.   

We’ve seen $5M contracts awarded to firms that (gracefully) provided a very detailed and considered rationale as to why they didn’t follow the bid instructions. We’ve also seen sole-source agreements given to firms with very little government experience because they told a different type of growth story, one not so picture-perfect or linear.   

We applaud groups like the Innovation Cohort, which allows for open calls to tackle challenges within individual member communities.   

This type of innovation is just the beginning!

How do we track the effectiveness of our pre-RFP solution?  

  • Number of POC emails sent to understand their pipeline
  • Number of board/council meeting minutes scanned
  • Number of FOIA requests made
  • Number of engagements to educate stakeholders
  • Number of validating surveys/assessments sourced
  • Number of future project scopes influenced
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