The latest version of the UK Government’s Digital marketplace has taken the sourcing of digital services in a new and interesting direction. It’s opening the door to greater innovation in the public sector by engaging a more diverse set of suppliers – from tech start-ups to traditional systems integrators.

It’s the simplicity, transparency and diversity of G-Cloud 9 that ultimately makes it easier for government buyers to buy innovative new services. How has the Digital Marketplace team done this?

  1. Making things simple. Shorter and simpler contracts that are much more suitable for modern digital and data work.
  2. Embracing open. Openly published products, services,pricing and terms, have produced a more transparent marketplace.
  3. Engaging innovators. The Digital Marketplace team made real efforts to reach out to the tech community, through organisations like Tech UK, which has resulted in much better representation on G-Cloud from start-up and smaller businesses, right across the UK.

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By adopting this approach, G-Cloud 9 makes it effortless for our public sector colleagues to get early access to the new things we’ve been working on, like Witan, our city decision-making platform. Witan helps government leaders save money and make better decisions, by enabling faster modelling of different scenarios and strategies. In the past, bringing an innovative tool like Witan to public sector audiences would have been a challenge, even if it’s the sector that will benefit the most from using it.

G-Cloud 9 creates a frictionless marketplace, allowing innovation to flow faster from the private to the public sector. Which ultimately means that users of government services (that’s you, me and other UK taxpayers) get to benefit sooner, from the latest developments in data science, digital tools and service design.

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Procurement may not be a topic that fascinates everyone. But there are some great lessons to be learnt from the Digital Marketplace team’s approach to designing the new G-Cloud service, in particular the open way they shared their progress, through regular blogs, and their proactive approach to getting input from suppliers, specialists and their counterparts in other organisations. Yes, much of this is made possible by the UK’s Government Digital Service’s well publicised commitment to Agile, user-centred thinking and good design. But, engaging quickly with users, partners and external experts, and sharing openly the development process, is something everyone can think about.

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