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 Why is the Scottish Government doing this?

The relationship between the public sector and businesses in Scotland is complicated - not least because procurement can take a long time and be difficult. While there have been good reasons for this in the past, the team behind the CivTech®  pilot are convinced that in a digital age there is a better way for public bodies to work with the business world. This pilot aims to deliver better public services and enable economic development opportunities through public sector procurement.

As you'll discover, this is working within new procurement routes, new ways of working, new tendering processes, new products and new mindsets. We want to start small so we can test the components of the approach. Like any start-up, we will have to pivot at times: some elements will work, some won't. And that's a good thing as it will inform our approach in the future. So in the spirit of what we are aiming to achieve if things don't go quite according to plan, it's all about 'test and learning'!


We want to test a number of hypotheses, including -

  • Posing open questions in the form of Challenges rather than conventionally publishing closed pre-determined technical solution tenders will provide a better source of innovative solutions

  • Governments can deliver better services to their citizens by harnessing local digital talent in the form of smaller, more innovative, hungrier companies

  • New rules related to the public procurement of innovation that came into force in April 2016 can be a good fit for this approach

  • With appropriate support and input from citizens, tech SMEs can build innovative solutions to civic challenges. We call this the ‘CivTech® Innovation Flow’

  • Collaboration between the Digital Directorate and public sector partners, Enterprise Agencies and the Scottish Investment Bank presents an opportunity to enhance digital public service delivery and boost the Scottish economy and providing investment opportunities

  • Public sector challenges tend to be similar all over the world, which presents the SMEs with an exciting opportunity to scale through export 

  • A Challenge Sponsor working through the CivTech® Innovation Flow and alongside the CivTech® pilot team and citizen groups is the best mechanism to deliver the optimum package

  • A public sector accelerator/collaboration space will facilitate a cross-pollination of innovation across different sectors [Health, Environment, Cyber Security etc]

Ultimately the aims of the pilot are to -

  • Create a collaboration space that houses innovative companies delivering global digital products and services that help governments across the world serve their citizens better

  • Run a full cycle of the CivTech® Innovation Flow including a tech accelerator especially designed for public sector product focused on new companies, services and products in the public sector space so they can develop their product and business as fast and effectively as possible in both domestic and international markets 

  • Co-produce services through a commitment to high quality user research and the ‘Scottish approach to service design’ being developed in the Digital Public Services & Business Transformation division

  • Build the CivTech® concept and brand so that it can be used to articulate and showcase this model of operation

CivTech® pilot is itself innovative. It takes many tried and tested features of the private sector tech world [such as business start-up accelerators], and introduces them into the public sector space in a novel way. While it’s a pilot, it’s being developed and driven by a team that has extensive experience and deep knowledge of both the public sector, and the private sector digital, tech, start-up, and business landscape.

This means there’s a very good chance that this pilot will be genuinely successful – and that getting it right will deliver benefits all round -

  • You’ll get better citizen participation, have better and more useable services, and be able to make your budgets go further by collaborating with the nation’s innovative SMEs

  • For small businesses, there’s the opportunity to access new public sector markets in a straightforward way, offering opportunities to grow and internationalise their business

  • Citizens will be able to interact with the public sector more easily, they’ll have real influence on how services are delivered; this will lead to their taxes going further, and their money stimulating the nation’s innovative talent

  • For the nation, CivTech® pilot offers an idea and a product that can be taken to the world to highlight the country’s innovation, creativity and enterprise, and which can become a clear national ‘differentiator’ at world level


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