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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Focus on market research and planning to understand and get what is needed

City hires firm to help rethink its procurement approach
New York City has hired a firm called Citymart in its effort to make its procurement processes more flexible and better able to accommodate new technologies and smaller vendors. The contract entails a plan for five challenges until June 2017, working within existing procurement rules to use different platforms, Merritt said. The goal is greater participation by more diverse vendors, and earlier in the process — especially to find solutions or providers the city might not have known about otherwise.

“When [people] look at a procurement, they think that the actual RFP is sort of the beginning of the process — and in some ways, by that point in time, a lot of the work has already happened," he explained. "So the early stage is really working with agencies to identify the tough problems, the problems where they don't know the solution that's out there."

"Our goal isn’t to turn every single procurement into a call for innovations. Rather, it is to identify the areas that we think perhaps a traditional RFP might not be the best way to really work in partnership with agencies to really flesh out those problems," he said. "And when we put out a solicitation, our partners in the private sector, non-profit sector, academic sector can really understand what is the issue that government is trying to solve, and what are their ideas and proposals for addressing it."

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