Tendering innovation

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Witteveen+Bos was recently awarded a fantastic project: to take care of the preparation work for the replacement and maintenance of the Cruquius bridges in Haarlemmermeer. This is a special project, not only because of its scope, but also because of its ambition to generate sustainable innovations through the tendering process.

It is for precisely this reason that the decision was made to initiate a competitive dialogue; a relatively long and intensive procedure in which we discussed proposals from various parties simultaneously. The same approach was chosen for the tender for the Innovation Route N737 for the province of Overijssel. The results of this procedure will soon be announced, but here too the objective is to stimulate the market to contribute innovative ideas through the tendering process.

Another way to encourage innovation is to organise a competition. For TNO (and Rijkswaterstaat) we are supervising the Sustainable Asphalt (Duurzaam Asfalt) competition. The task for this was very clearly defined; entrants have to focus solely on the production and composition of new asphalt mixtures. These results will also be announced shortly.

Tendering innovation brings two worlds together. Tendering is a procedural and somewhat legal task, with strict frameworks and rules. Innovation (which should, of course, serve a purpose) requires out-of-the-box thinking with as few frameworks as possible. Through our projects, we are gaining more and more experience with this unique combination and we are getting better at bringing these two worlds together. The ultimate objective is always the same: to stimulate the development and application of new methods and materials that contribute to sustainable projects.

+ jaap.de.koning@witteveenbos.com