Innovation sourcing in public sector supply chains: The role of innovation intermediaries
Innovation is imperative to improve the delivery of public services and address grand societal challenges. Public buying organisations can benefit significantly from engagement and collaboration with innovative suppliers e.g. to help deliver affordable and accessible healthcare and improve national security. However, contracting for innovation in public sector supply chains is challenging due to failures in the institutional architecture underpinning innovation sourcing and adoption processes, and a shortfall of capabilities of buyers and suppliers. One way to address these issues is to rely on the services of innovation intermediary organisations, who operate at the demand-supply interface and act as catalysts for change. This seminar reports on the results of our case-based research on two innovation intermediaries supporting innovation sourcing in the UK defence and health sectors, respectively. The findings show that intermediaries and their key staff serve as institutional entrepreneurs, as they seek to change existing institutions (e.g. rules and norms of conduct) or to create new ones conducive to supplier-enabled innovation. In addition, innovation intermediaries create work spaces for collaborative R&D and experimentation, and help bridge gaps in the capabilities required to contract for innovation. A focus on the role and activities of innovation intermediation extends prior research on innovation sourcing both in public- and private-sector settings. It also presents implications for the design and enactment of innovation-oriented procurement policies.
Kostas Selviaridis is an Associate Professor of Operations Management at Lancaster University Management School, United Kingdom. His research programme examines how procurement and contracting practices shape supply markets, and help promote innovation, resilience and sustainability in supply chains. His current work places particular emphasis on the role of public contracting, for example with respect to: (a) stimulating innovation that addresses grand societal challenges and improves public services (e.g. healthcare), including novel solutions developed by technologically-adept SMEs, and (b) promoting resilience in drug supply chains and improving availability of medicines and vaccines. Through such research, Kostas has cultivated an interest, more broadly, in the interplay between supply chain management and public policy. His research has attracted funding from multiple sources internationally, notably the British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Research Council of Norway, and the Swedish Defence Research Agency. His work has appeared in internationally leading outlets such as the Journal of Supply Chain Management and the International Journal of Operations and Production Management. Kostas currently serves as an Associate Editor in the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management.