MITRE Disrupting Acquisition Blog: Incentivizing Emerging Technologies in Contracts

“In the early days and in the transition period, it’s hard to see the many uses of new technology and how it can fit into everyday life. As Contracting Officers and Program Managers, we probably don’t know all the potential uses of emerging technologies, not unless we collaborate with partners in industry and academia to find them and begin thinking ahead to how to level-up emerging technologies for all of us.

Here are several ways a Contracting Officer might incentivize industry/academia partners to look actively for opportunities within an emerging technology that they can incorporate into their proposed work:

Whether the solicitation is a request for proposal, broad agency announcement (BAA), call for white papers, or some other avenue of articulating a need and how to respond, the solicitation is expected to contain not only instructions for how to propose but also the criteria by which a white paper or proposal will be judged. Ideally, an offeror will use the instruction and evaluation sections of the solicitation as a checklist against their proposal to make sure that they’ve covered everything that’s expected and that they will be judged on.

If you as a Contracting Officer want to either force offerors to think about how to incorporate emerging technologies or invite them to bring their ideas to the table, then you should make their plan, however brief, one of the discriminators for selection. What you want them to cover in their plan or proposal will depend on what you are buying and what in particular you’d like an emerging technology to change in a positive way that will benefit both short-term and long-term…”

“Incentives to look for opportunities to utilize an emerging technology can be written into a new contract or even negotiated into an existing contract. For example, a Contracting Officer working on a Program of Record that has obsolescence issues might want to incentivize use of additive manufacturing for replacement of parts. The Contracting Officer might use a contract line item number (CLIN) that sets aside specific funding for savings or a portion of savings passed along to the Government…” Read the full article here.

Source: Incentivizing Emerging Technologies in Contracts – By Lorna Tedder, April 6, 2021. MITRE.

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