Procurement for Innovation case study


  • City of Greater Geelong sought sustainable innovative solutions to the costly ongoing maintenance of traditional pedestrian bridges.
  • The tender was the first in Australia to be offered through a Procurement for Innovation process, encouraging the development of clean technology using the substantial buying power of public sector procurement.
  • The winning tender involves the innovative use of a new building product made from recycled materials, fibre reinforced – stronger and longer lasting than existing materials. 

Aims and objectives

Cleantech Innovations, Geelong, are a collaboration between City of Greater Geelong, The Geelong Manufacturing Council and the Victorian State Government. CIG are an alliance of business and industry looking to develop markets for cleantech, aspires to bring sustainable solutions to the market.

The City of Greater Geelong Council (Geelong) had been spending around $500,000 annually on the inspection, repair, maintenance and replacement of traditionally built (timber, steel or concrete construction) pedestrian bridges.

Geelong sought a sustainable solution to this costly liability and issued a tender in 2017 for a maintenance free bridge.


Based on SPL’s experience of Forward Commitment Procurement and sustainable innovation, Barbara Morton, Director of SPL, worked with Cleantech Innovations, Geelong to initially identify problem areas for which Geelong sought a sustainable solution.

This identified the maintenance liability of its pedestrian bridges.

Further work clarified intended outcomes to enable detailed market engagement, clarifying to the market a commitment to buy an innovative product which was not yet available on the market, enabling potential suppliers to research potential solutions and establish relevant collaborations.
Subsequently, relevant specifications and tender requirements were developed.

  • The first tender under the project was for a 100-year maintenance free pedestrian bridge. This is the first tender in Australia to be offered using a Procurement for Innovation process, which aims to encourage the development and viability of clean technology.
  • The winning consortium designed a new building product made from recycled materials and reinforced with carbon fibre, intended to be stronger and longer lasting than existing products.
  • The first two bridges to be replaced with the new design later in 2020 are timber structures over Cowies Creek in Deppler Park.

Lessons learned

This is an example of an organisation applying a proactive approach to its identified problems, working with the market and experts in Procurement for Innovation to develop a practical and innovative solution.

Internal discussion with key stakeholders is an essential first step, to clarify the nature and scale of the problem or need and agree intended outcomes.

Allowing additional time for potential suppliers to establish consortia and research and test solutions is also a critical element.

More information

Page last updated: Friday, 17 January 2020