Growing a Sustainable Digital Sector with Smart Procurement

NZRise / MBIE 2017 Procurement Workshop Outcomes

Held on 13/07/2017, Te Wharewaka, Wellington

Attendees ~100 across NZ Government agencies and NZ Private sector (NZRise members)


This was the third procurement workshop co-convened by NZRise and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment under the theme, ‘Procuring the Future’. As in the previous two events, in 2014 and 2015, this session was a focussed discussion between industry and government about how, collectively, we can improve procurement processes and outcomes to deliver better results across the IT sector.

The 2017 session was convened as an input to initial MBIE thinking about how procurement can contribute to a vibrant New Zealand economy.

A similar format was used for the 2017 session, with the bulk of the morning structured around two round table discussions, reported back to the wider group. The first of the sessions addressed the challenges, and the second focussed on the opportunities and future state.

The themes of the discussion were underpinned by lightning talks from John Ivil and Kim Connolly-Stone from MBIE on Government Procurement and the Digital Economy programme respectively. Ben Harman, of Assurity on his observations from a variety of modern procurement models and Brooke Penny, of Catalyst on local experiences as a supplier. Thank you to these speakers for their time and insight.

The notes from each of the group discussions were collected, transcribed and a summary of those discussions is recorded here:

Procurement WorkShop Notes – for reference only – NZRise disclaimer these are in raw form with no context, we are releasing them in the interests of transparency and in good faith.


The event was engaging and well received by all involved. Group discussions were evenly split between Government and Private Sector participants resulting in both healthy debate and objective discussions highlighting the challenges, constraints and perspectives of both sides.

A fuller report of the insights of the day, including this background and these conclusions, can be found here.

2017 Procurement Workshop Summary NZRise

We would like to thank everyone involved for their open, honest and candid feedback. It was noted on the day this event could be larger still, and should involve ongoing feedback alongside other engagement mechanisms to continue the conversation.

I would personally like to thank Jason Ryan of Catalyst and Shane Ross of Equinox who organised the event and wrote up these findings.


Before drawing conclusions from the 2017 session, it would be worth revisiting the outcomes of the 2015 workshop to consider what has changed in the interim. From that workshop, there were four key points:

  1. Ensure that government has access to the best capability and that New Zealand digital companies are fairly considered as part of the procurement process.
  2. NZRise will continue to support the sharing of best practice and growing the overall capability of the profession in government.
  3. There are still significant advances to be made in both the way digital goods and services are procured, and the incentive structures to underwrite successful delivery.
  4. Further progress can only be achieved by continuing engagement and dialogue, and a willingness on both sides to identify opportunities to improve our respective approaches to procurement.


In the intervening two years, these four points have retained their saliency. With the current focus on addressing sustainability in procurement policy, the discussions from this year’s workshop have yielded two additional points:

  1. Procurement policy should incorporate a model of benefits analysis that is broader than the current one. The wider economic impact of procurement and how it can contribute to the Business Growth Agenda would be a platform for a vibrant and sustainable digital sector.
  2. Accelerate the adoption of innovative procurement practice through acknowledging and rewarding Transparent, Early, Lean, and Open (TELO) procurement.

Victoria MacLennan, Co-Chair NZRise

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