We aim to open up and transform public procurement to deliver measurably fairer and better results for people around the world. We’re achieving this big ambition with our small team, and we believe that our success is thanks to embedding learning into the core of how we operate.

We’ve set ourselves a bold goal. And we mean it. That’s why we will be rigorous in assessing whether we’re achieving it.

Our approach 

We are constantly reflecting on if our activities are helping us achieve the change we want to see. Likewise, we help our partners ask themselves these questions, too. This approach has helped us to stay nimble and pivot when it makes sense, as well as quickly double down on what works to achieve impact.

Our organizational learning tactics include:

  • Clear and meaningful organizational strategy with targets. Our strategy, which includes our theory of change, guides our day-to-day work. We have measurable public targets that we pursue, the most important of which are our impact and progress targets. We set the bar high and are striving for measurable outcome changes. We regularly revisit and refresh our strategy to ensure it stays relevant and useful.
  • Rapid reflection meetings. On a quarterly basis, our entire team comes together to review our strategy targets and reflect on what is going well, what is going less well, and where we need to change our approach. Review our quarterly notes.
  • Project impact and reviews. For each major project, we articulate a theory of change that we refresh regularly. We also develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for these projects, and measure the project impact along the way. We regularly hold internal check-ins to review progress, discuss challenges, and how might better support our partners.
  • Sharing learning with the community. Learning and capacity building for and with the community is deeply embedded in our organizational strategy. We are fostering a community of changemakers who we hope will promote open contracting without OCP. This means investing a lot in developing and sharing learning resources with and from the community.
  • Annual report. Each year we openly reflect on what has gone well and not so well in the past year and summarize these reflections in our Annual Report. We particularly like to share where we got stuck or failed, because that is how we learn.

Our project learning tactics include:  

Measuring the billions and trillions from public procurement

We wanted to go beyond supporting changes to laws and policies to deliver real-world, market-level impacts like increased competition or better results for citizens from public spending, we call these proof points. We will assess each documented proof point for impact on lives and spending. Depending on their context and project scope, some proof points might have significant impact on lives and spending, while others might have less or none. In addition to these broad impact numbers, we will also aggregate direct beneficiaries for projects with comparable goals, such as the number of new women-led SMEs that participate and win contracts, or number of people using higher quality public transit.

Calculating better spending: We define “better spending” as “improvements in open procurement data AND improvements in measurable economic, social, or environmental outcomes from procurement”. This definition is based on the fact that procurement has a spillover effect on improving people’s lives, through better goods and services and greener and more resilient and inclusive communities.

Public procurement spending is the estimated value of the purchases by governments and state-owned enterprises of goods, services and works. To calculate the total procurement spending, we will draw upon the open procurement data being published, as well as reliable national and global spend estimates from the OECD and the World Bank’s Global Public Procurement Database.

Calculating impact on lives: We calculate impact on lives based on the population benefiting from better procurement. Once a project has achieved better spending, then we estimate the population of the country, city, or state where the OCP project takes place. Population numbers will be drawn from reputable sources, such as census information.