There are so many opportunities to improve the contracting process that it sometimes is overwhelming. Where do you begin? I can't promise the posts here will be presented sequentially-- of even logically sometimes-- but they will reflect real opportunities I see to improve the outcomes for you, our government clients. Here's a thought...
As you know, during the RFP process, the firms bidding pour their hearts and minds into crafting a solution that will be most appealing. There are lots of great discussions that happen during those response periods-- but, unfortunately, much of that is lost upon award. Except for the winner, every one else dusts themselves off then takes their ideas on to the next thing.
So, what if there was a way to segment some of the upfront solutions design work, pay a handful of diverse, qualified firms to participate, then keep the best solution and down-select to one implementer?
Phasing the upfront solution design by making small, multiple awards yields better results and cost savings for government organizations.
Here's the process we're all very familiar with.... an RFP drops, a company makes a "go" decision, the team gets spun up, we draft a "best guess" technical approach and price, then we wait. The illustrative “seismograph” below depicts the energy expended on both sides during this typical RFP process.
All of this energy is expended, the responses are submitted, the government makes and award, and in many cases, one firm is selected to perform the work. The time invested by both the contracts and by the government during the acquisition process is like heat lost the universe. It’s gone. None of the good discussion or insights or ideas generated from outside that narrow window are captured or incorporated into the final solution. What a waste!
Instead, what if the government adopted a new model? As an alternative, government buyers could make a fair but nominal investment by leveraging a process like the one shown below and more effectively engage firms upfront in a collaborative solution. A good contracts person can figure out how.
By engaging a number of different contractors, the government harnesses the tremendous potential power of diverse thinking, perspectives, and experiences.