Despite the Promises, Why do Frameworks Fail to Deliver Innovative Behaviour?

Framework agreements are supposed to engender a culture of innovation. It’s one of the main reasons an asset owner or operator would be attracted to frameworks. The long-term partnership allows time, space and commercial security for suppliers to learn from experience and apply new ideas and methods.
Frameworks should see an end to the same old mistakes being repeated time and again. They should mark the end of narrow project-focused goals and bring a fresh approach that considers the whole life of the asset. Emerging best practice should be actively sought out, cascaded and applied.

Building this type of innovative culture isn’t easy. It can’t be taken for granted, and any potential framework partner must have a convincing narrative for how they will create, lead and nurture innovative approaches.

Why is Innovation Elusive?

Innovation needs an objective. If the goals for the framework are unclear, or if the client and supplier have different objectives, any meaningful benefits experienced by the client will be accidental rather than part of the partnership culture. Goals must be realistic, sustainable and mutually beneficial.

Innovation doesn’t just happen. It needs investment, targeted R&D and a systematic approach to learning, sharing and applying lessons to the whole life of the asset.

Innovation relies on people. Behaviour is hard to change if people don’t recognise change as a positive force. Innovative cultures are built on positive stakeholder engagement, which must be planned, managed and evaluated constantly. Culture also demands honest, consistent communications.

Above all, frameworks must start out with a clearly stated appreciation of the obstacles that could impede innovation. There must be plans and leadership structures that remove the obstacles and clear the path to creating a sustainable culture of innovation.

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