About the Better Buy Project/Frequently Asked Questions
Why the Federal Acquisition Process?
On his first day in office, President Obama challenged leaders in government to "use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individuals in the private sector." The acquisition process represents one of the most important areas of collaboration between government and the private sector.
Unfortunately, it is also among the most complex and least transparent. The Better Buy Project is an experiment dedicated to the belief that there's a lot of room for improvement in the way government buys products and services. We're testing this hypothesis by asking for your ideas on how to make acquisition process more open, transparent and collaborative.
The best part of this project is that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) GSA would really like to adopt some of your best ideas. Promising ideas will be selected by GSA to be piloted on an upcoming acquisition, where lessons learned will be captured for future implementation. But that really depends on us, and the ideas we're able to produce.
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What Topics Are At Issue?
This project is concerned primarily with the pre-contract-award stages of the acquisition process—the activities that take place before the government "signs on the dotted line" to buy a product or service. Those areas are:
- Market Research and Requirements Definition Phase—Includes publicizing agency needs and requirements, and refining them based on further input and research about current capabilities.
- Pre-Solicitation Phase—Includes web-based research, discussions with other federal agencies, meetings and open discussion forums with the private sector to discuss potential solutions, and requests for information soliciting input and ideas. The requirements are also further refined at this stage in the process.
- Solicitation Phase—Includes the government notifying the private sector of the requirement through various channels such as E-Buy and FedBizOpps, holding open forums to discuss the requirement and answer questions (e.g., Industry Days), a review of the solicitation by interested companies, the written exchange between government and the private sector of questions, answers and clarifications on government requirements, and proposal submissions.
The ultimate goal is to improve how government learns about and chooses what it buys—in other words, to make government a more informed, more effective consumer.
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What Kind of Feedback Are You Looking For?
We are looking for ideas to make federal acquisition more open, transparent, and collaborative. What does that mean?
- Open—Raise awareness of upcoming needs government is trying to fulfill, in order to assemble a pool of qualified providers who can compete on specific requirements.
- Transparent—Give the public and interested parties timely data on upcoming and ongoing buying activities, with the goal of promoting fair and high-quality competitions.
- Collaborative—Find ways for the government to engage in more ‘open’ conversations with the private sector on topics such as best practices, emerging technologies and innovations, and market conditions.
We believe that making the process more open, transparent and collaborative will make government more likely to end up with the right item at the right price.
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What Is Your Moderation Policy?
This online forum allows you the opportunity to post comments and other information that will remain publicly viewable on this website. The site therefore operates a moderation policy to ensure that comments are appropriate and not harmful to others. Comments which include any of the following may be deleted by site administrators:
- Threats or incitements to violence
- Use of obscenity
- Disclosure of your or others' personally-identifiable information, such as social security number or credit card number
- Duplicative or substantially duplicative postings by the same person or entity
- Postings seeking employment or containing advertisements for a commercial product or service
- Information posted in violation of law, including libel, condoning or encouraging illegal activity, revealing classified information, or infringing on a copyright or trademark
Additionally, while we invite open participation and diverse viewpoints to be shared, moderators reserve the right to remove posts which do not address some aspect of the stated purpose of this forum: To collect ideas about using collaboration and social media to improve the acquisition process. We deeply value your time and input, and our desire is to remove as few posts as possible while ensuring that a focused, constructive discussion takes place.
Finally, in addition to this policy, this site allows individual users to flag ideas as being spam, duplicate, or otherwise inappropriate. When an idea is flagged a sufficient number of times, it is automatically placed into a queue for review by moderators. We reserve the right to remove any posting that receives a sufficient number of "flags" to be placed in this queue, though will not automatically do so.
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