February 21, 2023 - Reference Group Meeting



Feb 21, 2023





Review Agenda Items

@Sainabou Jallow (Unlicensed)



Product Updates

Sarah Farooqi

15 min

Presentation deck


  • Scheduled quarterly releases that provide Catalog/marketplace product updates will be published on Confluence:

    • Most recent product update (Q4) release notes was published in January and can be found here.

    • Next release is slotted for March 31st.

  •  The Catalog roadmap is streamlined to operationalize the marketplace features over the coming months - the comparison tool, the RFP radar and the storefronts:

    • A staging site for the new changes is already being worked on. A directory of service providers and listing of relevant opportunities will be incorporated soon.

    • The maturity rubric, which will be the basis of the comparison tool, has been updated (see Catalog - Odk example). Information on how the calculation and scores can be found on Confluence.

    • The incorporation of the marketplace type features and functionalities into the Catalog will be reflected through a branding and name change that will be released soon. The new name of the platform - The Digital Impact Exchange.

  • The Digital Impact Exchange is a digital public good, where the code is open source. There will be the opportunity for all to use and benefit from the platform:

    • An organization or a country can request their own white labeled instance of it - it can be customized and made private for their use. They can keep their data private, and sync whatever relevant information they want to directly on the platform (i.e., publish their tenders, etc).

Key priorities in the coming months:

  • Current focus is to conduct more user research and have concrete conversations with three key actors:

    • Sources of digital related RFPs to agree to publish their tenders on the RFP radar section

    • Vendors to create their storefront profiles on the platform

    • Potential partners who wish to white label the platform

    • **Any Reference Group member with feedback, input and/or willing to support on this to email @Sarah Farooqi who can schedule a meeting to discuss 1-1.

  • Another key priority is the use case section on the platform:

    • Aligning with the GovStack initiative’s use case priorities and template, and have it reflected on the platform’s use case pages.

    • Adding more use cases pertaining to health and climate on the platform.

Communications and Rebrand Updates

Arielle Diamond, Senior Communications Manager at Digital Impact Alliance 

5 min

Presentation deck


  • Embarking on a more in-depth UI and UX redesign of the Catalog site - to integrate with the new brand, platform name and marketplace features.

  • UI UX project roadmap:

    • Focus in the upcoming month is a discovery phase - additional user research activities to feed into the design decisions: sending out surveys that can be done asynchronously and hosting a few live interviews with the target platform users.

      • Input from interested Reference Group members highly encouraged in this phase.

    •  The design phase of the new features and functionalities will kick off in Q2, extending into Q3.

Member Spotlight - Warren Smith

Warren Smith, current Director at CURSHAW, and former Program Director of the UK’s Global Digital Marketplace

30 min

Presentation deck


  • See PPT deck linked above where Warren provided an overview on the UK's domestic visual marketplace and the work he led while working for the UK government - to set up the UK’s Global Digital Marketplace.

  • Core point and principle prioritized in the process of setting up the UK Marketplace was ensuring a user centered approach and and thinking about procurement reform as a digital translation program.

  • UK’s story - dating back to 2009/2010, the UK’s National Audit Office report highlighted the UK’s supply chain and internal buyers frustration with the procurement process of digital and technology services, and its domination by a small number of large multi-national suppliers.

  • Fast forward to today, through the UK’s domestic marketplace - billions of pounds have been saved, and there are now thousands of technology products and service providers with access to the UK’s public sector market.

    • This model was also replicated successfully in Australia to help them launch their digital marketplace. This was easily done due to the UK’s Marketplace having a set of building blocks which are all open source.

  • The UK’s Global Digital Marketplace was launched to help governments in emerging economies set up a digital Marketplace (Mexico, Colombia, South Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia).

    • Critical priority was placed to adjust and adapt the Marketplace to tailor to each country’s local context.

  • Lessons learnt/core elements that were really fundamental to help create a more open, diverse, transparent and competitive market:

    • Thinking holistically about the components needed in a good decision making process of the whole commercial lifecycle - not only pertaining to digital technology, but other products and services as well.

    • Before putting out a tender, a government should first look to see what technology solutions are available to reuse and build on top of.

    • Bringing together lawyers, service designers and commercial policy experts to participate in a hack day and collaboratively discuss how to improve government procurement contracts.

      • Making sure contracts are simple, clear and straightforward, and designed to meet the needs of the primary users - the buyers and the suppliers.

    • Addressing corruption and ensuing that there is a procurement systems in place to tackle it.

    • A process to ensure service delivery once contract has been awarded - making sure the money is being spent in the right way and on the right things.

    • Building digital skills capability to help both commercial and procurement stakeholders.


Additional resources shared in chat during session:

  • World Commerce & Contracting's design pattern library for good contract development and simplification:

  • Simply Secure - Build Blocks for Funding Digital Infrastructure:

Member Spotlight - Reilly Martin

Reilly Martin, Senior Program Director at Open Contracting Partnership (OCP)

30 min

Presentation deck


  • Open Contracting Partnership partners with nonprofits, governments, and for profit actors that are looking to support are more open and fair procurement process.

  • The session started with an activity where everyone was asked to take 3-5 minutes to find an RFP on their local or national government’s procurement website, without using google. Everyone was asked to track the number of clicks it took to find and download an RFP bid opportunity and note down any barriers of entry or discovery they experienced.

    • Reference group members, all based in various countries - responses ranged from 5 - 10 clicks.

    • Challenges mentioned included not knowing where to start to find local bids without using google, language barrier - i.e, in the case of Estonia, if you don't speak Estonia, it will take more clicks to find the RFP bids.

  • Presentation focused on electronic government procurement (e-GP) systems and a report about 5 African countries that received funding to redo their e-procurement systems and the lessons learnt.

    • All 5 countries incorporated having a e-GP system into their wider communications technology strategies and roadmap, using a variety of different implementations - from SAS to custom solutions.

    • Only 3 out of the 5 countries outlined a plan on how to implement improvements after the pilot phase.

  • Key challenges highlighted in the report:

    • Some of the solutions chosen to implement the e-procurement system were influenced by funding deadlines, rather than actual context.

    • The needs of users - ensuring a user first centric design process - wasn’t prioritized, and the lack of vendor presence and ability to set local contextual requirements from the beginning, created complications later on.

    • Change management did not take place within the governments, to adapt to the new requirements of the e-GP procurement system.

  • Recommendations to apply to future e-GP or technology projects:

    • Design systems with users in mind by consulting them first.

    • Important to articulate goals through a strategy and have a strong governance structure:

      • create clear requirements and cross cutting change management from the start.

    • Planning for sustainability - align this plan with policy and legal frameworks to ensure project needs are met and that efforts are not duplicated.

    • Making sure there is enough flexibility to have a collaborative relationship with the selected vendor - in all phases of the project implementation process.

  • OCP’s 5 principles for e-GP projects: 1. have clear and prioritized use cases, 2. collect useful data, 3. publish open data, 4. design useful portal, and 5. follow an iterative process.


  • How does OCP select partners to work with?

    • Response: partners approach OCP for support needs with a specific reform and/or project they have in mind.

      • For government partners/teams that can’t finding funding, OCP supports in co-finding funding and grants for those projects.

    • OCP has an accelerator incubator program that plans to provide hands-on technical assistance, and funding (minimum 30K US) to about ~ 10 to 15 teams over the next two years. The call for application will open up in March. Link to the opportunity will be updated on here

      • Reference Group members are encouraged to share this opportunity with relevant parties in their network who might wish to apply.

  • Is OCP using the findings from the report and others to try to influence the way that the donors and banks think about how they're directing investment towards implementation of e-GP?

    • Response: Yes 100% - for example they have done so with the World Bank who has really appreciated the incite.

  • Has OCP done a study looking across the board - on a global context - what the key interest areas are in e-GP systems?

    • No, they haven't done specific research on that as most partners want them to focus on either a specific country or issue area.

Additional resources shared in chat during session:

  • Sustainability specific items OCP produced in the last year:

Next Steps - Agenda Items

Sainabou Jallow

5 min


  • 2 or 3 additional Reference Group meetings to be held this year.

    • Tentative 2nd meeting to take place in May - a doodle poll will be shared with all member in April, to input availability.

  • Beyond providing updates on the Digital Impact Exchange platform, the Reference Group meetings will be an opportunity to build a connected community where best practices and lessons learnt are exchanged.

  • To select the agenda items and member spotlight sessions for future meetings, all members are asked to use this link to input suggested topics and themes - Agenda Items.

Proposed agenda items shared in the chat:

  • Markus Mägi: Spotlight on the Estonian government - possibly presentation by the CTO in charge of planning and developing the digital services marketplace for Estonia.

 Next Steps

Reference Group members interested in sharing feedback and input around outreach to RFP sources and vendors that should be engaged, to send an email to Sarah Farooqi (Sarah Farooqi (sfarooqi@dial.global).
Members to suggest and vote on agenda items for future Reference Group meetings using this link - Agenda Items.