An interactive workshop/tender evaluation interaction is used through a client procurement process as a way to allow a group of people to work together to achieve specific outcomes.   In particular, a client uses it as an opportunity to evaluate the shortlisted respondents team potential in working together in a collaborative way in order to deliver successful project outcomes.  It forms a critical path of the procurement process and can be intensive for both the client and the shortlisted respondents.

They provide targeted opportunities for shortlisted respondents/tender teams to:

  • talk through specific areas, topics or issues
  • discuss options and generate ideas and feedback on proposed solutions or methodologies
  • facilitate open communication between people, client and shortlisted respondents and project teams
  • gain alignment or commitment to courses of action or an understanding of requirements or outcomes           sought by a client
  • move plans forward to the next step of a process or key outcome or clarify key areas of focus or concerns
  • commercially align on key principles or commercial matters that link to key technical or non-technical outcomes
  • demonstrate the potential of their team and their effectiveness in collaborating with the client

Interactives are relevant regardless of the procurement model being chosen by the client and are widely used across different sectors and industries.  This includes alliances, design and construct, Early Contractor Involvement or other procurement models.  Collaboration with their supply chain partners is increasingly becoming important as part of the tender evaluation process for all clients we work with.  Shortlisted respondents and tender teams need to focus not just on the task but the people through how they engage with the client in these interactive processes.

There are number of types of interactive workshops a shortlisted respondent/tender team may be asked to participate in throughout a tender process:

  • Interactive – To test ideas and options with the client to obtain feedback on proposed solutions and methods. 

Interactive workshops/meetings are an opportunity to engage with the client and prompt two way communication and engagement around specific topics.  Often the client will include details on the interactive in the procurement documents which will provide you an indication as to what they’re expecting.  This could be around key technical requirements, outcomes required or methodology around the approach they are seeking to achieve.

  • Technical and Commercial interactives – To facilitate innovation, drive value for money and challenge collaboratively with the client.

These interactive workshops are key to looking for innovations and value for money.   Technical workshops focus on technical details (e.g. Geometrics, Urban Design, Dam Design Bridge Design).  Those asked to participate will tend to be technical people with senior leadership.  From a commercial perspective, they tend to be our commercial team with technical staff along with senior leadership.

  • Other Alignment interactives – To align with the client around their priorities and expectations.

Alignment workshops help to understand what the client is looking to achieve and what is important to them across a range to areas or topics where understanding all the information to reach alignment is essential (e.g. include Key Result Areas, important external relationships, key stakeholder concerns, project objectives).  They could be requested from the client or also be additional interactive workshops we request from the client to allow us to engage and interact on key areas that will help us develop an outstanding proposal.

Whatever the interactive workshop, forum or meeting, the key is to effectively engage with the client and/or the tender evaluation team.  These sessions are typically confidential and non-contractual.   We are looking to build trust and de-risk our proposal submission which occurs at the end of the procurement process.  We want the opportunity to provide the best possible value for money proposal to the client.  The only way we can achieve this is to actively engage with our client and ensure our staff are confident to interact in a manner that gives us the clarity and insights needed to develop a winning bid.

Our next blog in this series will focus on the key principles behind an effective interactive procurement workshop which forms the basis for the training and preparation required by bid teams to nail the interactive procurement process with their clients.