In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, we have integrated Innovative Public Procurement as a horizontal approach of our RIS3 policy mix. The objective is to use public procurement as a lever to boost innovation in order to maximise public services dedicated to citizens, foster the emergence of innovative solutions, and reinforce access to public procurement for SMEs. It has been facilitated by a new legal framework, which following the European directive establishing the Innovation Partnership in 2014, the French state now dedicates 2% of state procurement to innovation.
We were not very familiar with innovative public procurement until our participation in the “Alcotra Innovation” INTERREG project in 2011-2013, which inspired us to learn more. We have also drawn lessons from two successful examples from within our region: The European project SYNCRO involves cross border innovation procurement related to intelligent roads, improving traffic management through increased information to road users. Secondly, the Robot for Students project allows students temporarily away from school to maintain the link with their class and follow courses.As part of the RIS3 policy mix, an action plan builds awareness of innovative public procurement, identifies territorial needs, facilitate meetings between buyers and suppliers, and finances studies into innovative procurement projects. A dedicated governance structure brings together the key stakeholders with support of a collaborative online platform. We have already moved from strategy to action: Financed through the regional OP, a call for expression of interest named Innov'HA was launched in early 2016 that will fund both feasibility and opportunity studies and legal assistance.