Procuring creative services – how to avoid putting the cart before the horse

Why tendering for creative services should take a different path

Of course, a tender or a Request For Proposal (RFP) is perfectly acceptable for items that can be accurately and consistently compared. Things like paper clips, pens, or toilet paper! As well as, catering operations, security systems, and specialist equipment. But is a tender or an RFP the right way to secure an expert for a creative design project?
A tender rarely delivers the value it sets out to achieve.

Don’t prescribe before a proper diagnosis

Most Tenders or RFPs ask their shortlisted agencies to prepare creative solutions, using this as a means of differentiating between candidates. This ‘see before you buy approach’ puts the agency in an impossible position—they are being asked to come up with a solution before properly diagnosing the problem. In most other professions, this is tantamount to malpractice. Inevitably, creative routes that emerge from Tenders or RFPs have no fully formed strategic foundations, hindering their ability to offer fresh insight.

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