Six steps to a succesful market dialogue event
Building on their experience from organising market events as part of the Make ICT Fair project, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and Electronics Watch developed a guide, aiming to help public procurers go through a succesful market dialogue event. The guide identifies six steps that procurers should keep in mind.
Market dialogues are especially relevent in the context of innovation procurement, as these kinds of procurements often aim to connect to social and environmental values. A market dialogue serves to coordinate these social and environmental goals with the market. Moreover, market dialogue events can be used to collaborate with other public buyers to develop platforms of innovation.
The first step of a succesfull market dialogue is to assess your needs. Take a step back from considering the methods and audiences, and ask yourself what you want to achieve through market engagement, what you want to communicate to the market, what kind of information you are looking to obtain, and how you want to gather that information. Step 2 is to put together a team. Ideally that should consist of the procurer/contract manager, the head of procurement, a sustainability advisor and adminstrative support. If you have the budget you can also involve an event facilitator and an external topic expert.
Step 3 is to choose a suitable method for market engagement. To gain maximum supplier participation you could use a market survey. If you want to ask more targeted questions you could send out a catalogue of questions to the attendees, including the criteria and clauses you want to include in your tender. Step 4 is to make sure that the event is well-prepared, accessible, user-friendly and that everything you need works well.
Step 5 is focused on the event itself. It should be well-facilitated with an atmosphere that is fruitful for knowledge exchange. Interactivity and agileness help create such an atmosphere. Finally – Step 6 -, make sure to reflect on the event with your team. Discuss the results of the event in the context of the planned goals and methods and formulate lessons learned.
These steps are all explained in more detail in the guide. There you can also find an overview of some of the lessons public procurers all over Europe have learned from market dialogues. In addition, the guide provides an overview of how market dialogues fit in the 2014 EU Directives on Public Procurement. The guide can be downloaded here.