Celebrating disruption as BiP hosts first Innovation Day

Last week (Friday 5th August), BiP Solutions held its first ever “Innovation Day”. The day was dedicated to providing staff with the chance to collaborate, disrupt old ways and create something new to help address problems and improve performance and productivity within the company, as well as improving services to customers.

Staff were invited beforehand to submit ideas for problems and processes they wanted to improve and ideas for addressing those issues. Many great ideas were put forward, and after much debate and deliberation, three areas were chosen to focus on for the day:

  • Developing a product to improve Cyber Essentials processing and increase integration with Salesforce
  • Finding ways of enabling staff to evidence their achievements throughout the year, record performance reviews and track career progression
  • Attempt to create a content aggregator to collect news around B2G marketing or innovation in the Public Sector from different sources automatically

New Ideas

Teams were assigned to work on and present new and innovative solutions to address each of the challenges, from conception through to a basic implementation of a product. The aim of was to find the origin of a brilliant idea for a future BiP internal app or customer facing product.

The day flew by and was a great success as everyone involved threw themselves into the day and took the opportunity to ideate and develop new ideas for improving their working process and the customer experience.


Innovation Day was the brainchild of BiP’s Head of Software engineering (and resident wine connoisseur) Alvaro Sanchez, who explained the reasoning and inspiration for the day:

“I’ve worked on similar days like this before at previous companies, but they tended to be more technically-focused, so we wanted to focus this day on product development, which would allow more areas of the company to get involved, and make it more fun.”

“We also wanted to give staff the chance to work on different projects from their usual day-to-day work, and enable staff from teams who wouldn’t always work closely with each other to collaborate and pool their knowledge and experience to create new ideas and solutions, and allow them to play with technology, try different things, new frameworks and new approaches.”

“It was a really good day, everyone had a lot of fun and were very passionate about the improvements they wanted to make. We’ll definitely look to do this again in the future, maybe even expand it to a week or a month to allow more time for people to develop their ideas in more detail and gives us more margin to change approach, but I’m very happy with how the day went.”

Alvaro Sanchez, Head of Software Engineering

Future innovation

Going forward, BiP’s technical brains will use the key findings and insights from Innovation Day to further develop those ideas generated and turn them into finished products, keeping BiP at the cutting edge of technical innovation.

Thanks again to everyone who organised and took part in the event, and we can’t wait to do it all again soon.

Why innovation in public procurement should be top of decision makers’ to-do lists

innovation in public procurement

Whether you’re a buyer, supplier or decision maker, the goal of public procurement is the same – to deliver high quality public services at good value for money.

In order to meet this goal as efficiently as possible, there must be a willingness to embrace innovation in public procurement wherever it is needed; whether it’s the hospital that needs a sustainable redesign, the school that could do with new tables and chairs or an NHS trust which needs a complete overhaul of its antiquated digital processes.

A study of procurement professionals’ attitudes to innovation by Wax Digital found that 80% of those who work in procurement identified innovation as being very important or of utmost importance to their roles going forward. However, there are too few examples of public organisations solving their procurement problems in a genuinely innovative way at a time when making public procurement more innovative should be at the top of decision makers’ to-do lists.

Innovation was one of the central themes at last week’s DPRTE event with Nick Elliott, Director General Commercial at Defence Equipment and Support, delivering the event’s keynote speech which emphasised the importance of finding innovative solutions in defence procurement. Mr Elliott encouraged both buyers and suppliers to “embrace disruption; build innovation into your organisation’s DNA” and we think these principles can just as easily apply to public procurement.

In 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a major piece of research entitled Public Procurement For Innovation: Good Practices and Strategies. The study found that governments around the world are realising the importance of innovation in procurement, and are implementing policies to bring the two closer together.

Almost 80% of the countries which responded to the survey have taken measures to support innovation in procurement, and 50% already have a dedicated, government-led action plan to assist in their efforts. In the UK, this is Innovate UK.

These initiatives  which have been launched by governments around the world have led to innovation in public procurement, including:

  • The use of LED light bulbs in public lighting, resulting in more energy savings
  • Innovative solutions for traffic management, such as mobile traffic management systems for roadworks and major incidents to reduce congestion
  • Bringing technology to senior citizens with the Smart house platform for senior housing residence

However, although these good practice cases and research shows that implementing innovative procurement practices improves effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction in organisations, there is still the perception that it is risky; bodies in charge of procurement are generally averse to risk, and buyers would rather stick with what they know than deviate from the norm.

Indeed, research shows that innovation in procurement is associated with higher risk simply because organisations lack the resources and skills to mitigate risk successfully rather than because innovative procurement is actually riskier, and it’s often the case that organisational cultures have a bias towards traditional methods.

However, we think you should heed the advice of Mr Elliott by embracing disruption and building it into your organisation’s DNA.

Regardless of where you fall in the procurement supply chain, innovation should be top of your to-do list.

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