Karlstad makes innovative procurement to increase the city's accessibility

    Karlstad makes a second procurement with the support of Demand Acceleration methodology. This time to create a digital guide for people with cognitive challenges.
    "Since we see that there is a great deal of innovation in this challenge, we think this is a good method," says Marie Johansson, head of development at the health and care administration.

    In Karlstad, the health and care unit has long searched for digital tools to give people with cognitive challenges greater opportunities to take part in the city's offer on their own. It can, for example, be about cultural experiences, club life and other experiences that can contribute to a richer life.

    - Being independent is important for everyone and especially important for people with limitations in life, as you are often dependent on others. The target group is not always able to independently interpret information available in society. Trying to come up with a digital solution that can make this possible is very urgent, says Ann-Sophie Gustafsson, development manager at the health and care administration.  

    Procurement of innovation work – not finished service

    To solve the need, the municipality makes a procurement with the support of Demand Acceleration methodology. Simply put, this means that you procure an innovation project where several companies can participate in close collaboration with the business to develop a new, digital service.

    - Since we see that there is a great innovation height on this challenge, we think that Demand Acceleration is a good method. Not to lock procurement into predictable perspectives, but to look at the issue precisely from the perspective of co-creation and innovation. It is important, says Marie Johansson, head of development at the health and care administration.

    Ann-Sophie Gustafsson and Marie Johansson have contributed to making the care administration a hub for innovative procurement. Right now, a second procurement is underway with the support of Demand Acceleration methodology.

    The Demand Accelerator methodology means, in addition to the fact that several suppliers can be procured, that the municipality's own requirement specification may be left behind compared to a traditional procurement.

    - In a traditional procurement, the focus is on must-have requirements and established criteria. In a procurement using the Demand Acceleration methodology, the level of innovation is not limited by that type of detail, instead co-creation and development in an integrated design process is favored. The supplier gradually gains knowledge and support from us and we can use the supplier's ability and knowledge in a better way than if we had set limitations from the beginning. In a way, we gain more influence over how the end product turns out when we don't describe exactly how it should be from the start, says Marie Johansson.

    The Demand Acceleration methodology has been developed within the DigitalWell Arena. Karlstad municipality has played a key role both in developing the theories and as a pioneer in putting them into practice. The very first procurement, "Experience my reality", was carried out in 2022. It resulted in a VR service that trains healthcare professionals in the best way to respond to people with cognitive impairment.

    Wants to spread services in the public sector

    Initially, seven companies were procured in the initial concept phase. Virotea then became the company awarded a development contract to complete the final product. The company has subsequently sold the service on to several other municipalities - which is a guiding principle for the services that are developed with the support of Demand Acceleration. The business viability contributes to the services being able to live on and develop, which also benefits the customer who first procured the service.

    - We really only have good experiences from "experience my reality". In the form of cooperation, the supplier listens to our needs and then produces prototypes that are evaluated during the process, before we determine a final result. That we, as a public actor, can be involved in driving innovation is a prerequisite to ensure that the services we will develop in the future correspond to real needs for new products and digital services, says Ann-Sophie Gustafsson.

    Ivan Perlesi, CEO of Virotea, in collaboration with Magdalena Swierczek and Maria Andersson during the procurement "Experience my reality". The VR service that was created is now spreading in the country's municipalities.

    Several other municipalities are now in the starting pits to start similar procurement processes, among others Helsingborg who seek ground-breaking methods to reduce the climate impact of their public consumption.

    Stakeholders around the country

    A preliminary study has also been carried out in which 15 municipalities have participated to tell us more about the opportunities, and challenges, they see connected to the Demand Acceleration methodology.

    - The curiosity and interest is great, but at the same time it is a method that involves a certain uncertainty about the end result, something that stands in contrast to how you usually work in the public sector. Even so, the pilot study has so far led to initial dialogues about testing the methodology in as many as seven municipalities/regions, and several of them have already started work, says Elin Fouganthine, Innovation Manager in DigitalWell Arena and the one who led the pilot study.



    The regional project DigitalWell is financed by the European Union - European Regional Development Fund. The purpose of DigitalWell is that we will together develop digital solutions for needs in welfare with the user's own abilities in focus.