Collaborate Effectively with the Public Sector

Ignite Public has launched a guide with everything startups need to know when implementing pilot projects together with municipalities, regions and other public sector organizations.

Many public sector organizations are currently facing challenges around democracy and sustainable development including the energy transition, an aging population and the safeguarding of democratic processes. Sweden’s startups are at the cutting edge when it comes to creating innovative solutions to solve many of these crucial challenges.

Since 2019, Ignite Public has served as a link between startups and the public sector, supporting over 40 pilots between these actors. During the implementation of these pilots, the initiative has amassed experience and knowledge in order to learn and remove obstacles to better facilitate these collaborations.

“Ignite Public aims to ensure that the collaboration between public actors and startups is the best it can possibly be for both parties. As part of this work, we have created a guide that can facilitate successful collaborations,” says Ignite Public’s Project Manager, Mikaela Färnqvist.

Helping Startups Test New Solutions on a Small Scale

The recently launched guide, developed in collaboration with municipalities, publicly owned companies and startups, aims to give startups the right tools to succeed when implementing pilot projects and developing products and services for the public sector.

“A pilot is a test on a small scale where we experiment with new technologies and learn new ways of working. For a relatively small investment, we remove the uncertainty for both parties. We see what works and what doesn’t. We learn and keep building. This creates an internal learning process,” explains Marit Finch-Westin, Innovation Process Leader at Ignite Sweden.

These pilots can be implemented quickly and easily, without too much investment from either the public organization or the startup.

“Confining the project to a pilot minimizes the risks. It is a fast way to test innovative solutions that can then be evaluated and retested,” continues Mikaela. “These pilots help startups understand how their product matches the needs of the market, what is missing and what needs to be developed.”

Mikaela Färnqvist, Project Manager Ignite Public

Understanding the Public Sector as a Customer

“The public sector is an attractive market for startups’ solutions, but many of these innovative companies don’t see the public sector as a potential market simply because they don’t understand their needs. It is important that startups understand what to expect when working with public organizations to prepare accordingly and succeed in doing business with them,” explains Marit.

Some of the biggest challenges for startups when collaborating with the public sector are understanding the procurement regulations and the internal processes within a public organization, as well as scoping the pilot properly.

Portrait Marit Finch Westin
Marit Finch-Westin, Innovation Process Leader Ignite Public

The guide includes valuable tips for startups on what to consider before the initial meeting, a checklist for setting up a pilot project, an overview of procurement regulations and procedures, and questions to think about when scaling up a pilot project.

The first edition of the guide is now available in both Swedish and English.

Click here to download the Swedish version
Click here to download the English version

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