Love me Tenderer*

Or return to sender?

On review of a recent RFT that crossed my desk from etenders, I was delighted to see that this particular state agency valued creativity over cost. In fact, by as much as 50% with the award criteria being 30% and 20% respectively - the 'award criteria' is typically the first page I turn to before making a decision to read further or not.

And read further I did, onwards to the tender requirements only to have my initial delight crushed to disappointment. 'Criteria 3: Demonstration of creative ideas' requires the successful tenderer "to come-up with unique design concepts*" and to "put forward their creative ideas for a sample design project and methods for how to present the project to its key audiences. Also required is a proposed project plan from the suitably experienced and qualified graphic design agencies". The asterisk above by the way was not qualified, so perhaps this is what it should have referenced:

* Creativity is the most important aspect of this tender as demonstrated by the award criteria weighting applied. We recognise that creativity can help drive engagement with our various stakeholder audiences, provide clarity of communication and support our overall values and brand positioning. We value the innovation, creativity, craft, technical knowledge and project management skills required to deliver any design project and understand that to ultimately arrive at an effective creative solution requires in-depth research, discussion, debate, challenge, exploration, analysis, decision making and precise execution not to mention passion and belief. We appreciate that design agencies are businesses and provide a unique professional service, employing designers, programmers, accountants, project managers, studio managers, office managers, client managers and operations managers and that design agencies support a range of related services such as print, motion, copywriting, photography and videography. However, in order for this Tendering Authority to be able to judge the ability of the tendering design agency, previous and relevant experience, examples and case studies are not sufficient and in order to comply, each and every design agency tendering must provide their creative ideas specific to the Sample Project outlined in this RFT. The Tendering Authority expects the inclusion of the creative ideas to be provided at no expense to the Authority and that the design agencies will absorb all related costs. The Tendering Authority expects that in order to meet the requirements of this RFT the tenderers will provide their professional services at zero value to the design agency, at zero cost to the Tendering Authority as we place a value of zero on your creativity. The Tendering Authority wishes all those who wish to compete the best of luck, while the value of the competition, our methodology and the qualification of our judging panel for assessing your creativity will not be disclosed. END

While this Tendering Authority will remain nameless, it's time to shine a light** on this.

** What is the Irish for "light"?