One of my biggest frustrations when entering the world of domestic tendering from international development tendering was the fact that submissions seemed to lack substance. They were well written. They were well presented. They had some nifty messaging (I guess …), but they had no weight. They didn’t resonate with me and I doubt very much they resonated with evaluation panels. The reason for that was because they were lacking evidence.
Over the last decade I have seen (and I hope I have influenced) a change in direction in submissions to the use of more examples, the application of more substantive case studies, the highlighting of features and benefit, the application of messaging based on client need rather than plucked from thin air, and the development of more granular approaches. But it is still not enough. It is still mostly reflective of things that have been done before, lessons that have been learnt before. It doesn’t point to the future and what might be achievable.
That is why over the last few years, I have been incredibly excited to see (and delighted to have been increasingly involved in) tenders which require an evidence-based approach. An approach which necessitates research to underpin decision-making; proof to make decisions about solutions; the monitoring and measurement of outcomes associated with projects over time. This is the substance that should drive tenders, the substance that makes the financial, time and resource investment in tenders worthwhile.
At the moment, I am involved in a major tender that is whole-heartedly embracing an evidence-based approach (and investing in it in terms of resources, time and money) and it has made everything easier.
research to underpin our decisions
analysis of that research to support design
quantitative and qualitative data to articulate benefit
a way in which to measure outcomes over time, and
genuine substance from which to derive our messaging.
Evidence. Imagine that. So, from now on, I’m changing my catch cry from “so what?” to “go ahead then, prove it!”.
Written by Deborah Mazoudier, Managing Director