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2021 Open Contracting Champion: David Riveros García

What does changing the status quo in public procurement mean to you?

It means making public procurement empower collective action for accountability. That’s how service delivery can improve.

What is the #1 question you would ask before trying to reform a public procurement system?

Is the reform going to transform public procurement into a tool to solve a specific problem for which social demand already exists?

What is one thing you would say to an open contracting reformer who wants to break with tradition?

It’s not about the fascinating things you could do with better and more complex datasets; it’s about what ordinary people could do with simple, intermediated, data-based information. Your incredible achievement in data publication won’t go beyond a cocktail party celebration if there is neither capacity nor community demand to solve a problem with it. Try to identify and prioritise the people and organisations who have been fighting for something where open contracting could become a tool. That’s how we first achieved impact and developed a tool that will revolutionise transparency in public procurement for education infrastructure.

If public procurement was a sport, which one do you think it would be and why?

It would be basketball because it has a plethora of rules regarding dribbling, zoning, timing, ball possession, and execution. You cannot watch it or play it without going through a steep learning curve on the fundamentals. It’s simultaneously daunting and fast-paced. Also, its complexity allows for a variety of combinations and strategies, and it tends to privilege the big players.

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