Evaluation of the Build in Canada Innovation Program
Office of Audit and Evaluation, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)—April 5, 2017
The Build in Canada Innovation Program aims to help Canadian businesses commercialize their innovative goods and services (i.e. prepare their product for commercial launch) by providing them with the opportunity to demonstrate the application of their innovations on a commercial scale within the federal government. The Build in Canada Innovation Program has two key components through which suppliers can apply for testing: the standard component and the military component.
The federal government launched the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program in September 2010 as a two year pilot program. The pilot phase concluded in March 2013, and through a Budget 2012 commitment, the program was made permanent and re-launched in April 2013 as the Build in Canada Innovation Program, with the addition of a military component.
Evaluation scope and methodology
The objectives of this Evaluation were to determine the program’s relevance and its performance in achieving its expected outcomes efficiently and economically. The evaluation assessed Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) for the period from April 2012 to April 2016.
Evaluation constraints and limitations
There are limitations to social science research, and of the 119 survey responses, 26 were incomplete and 5 declined to participate. Two companies initially contacted for interviews declined to participate and while the evaluation team requested financial and other related performance data, the majority of respondents declined to provide this commercially sensitive data. As there was a change in policy direction subsequent to the October 2015 federal election, documentation on current federal priorities was relatively limited and excluded prior federal priorities.
The evaluation found that the program remains relevant, and there is a continuing need for the Build in Canada Innovation Program. The evaluation found that the Build in Canada Innovation Program aligns with the roles and responsibilities and priorities of the federal government and complements the existing suite of federal programs directed at supporting innovation in the Canadian economy.
The evaluation found that the Build in Canada Innovation Program has progressed towards achieving its intended outcomes. Industry remains interested in participating in the program; suppliers that have matched with participating departments are completing their testing. However, suppliers have indicated to the program that there are opportunities for improving the information it makes available to industry. Interest and participation in the program by federal organizations has increased over time, with participating departments having tested multiple innovations; however outreach to federal organizations could be improved upon to help provide more options for matching innovations. The Build in Canada Innovation Program was effective in contributing to the preparedness of participating suppliers to commercialize their innovations. Participating departments were supportive of the program and believed the feedback provided to suppliers was beneficial in supporting commercialization, as was the experience from having a first-time buyer for their innovations. However, the existence of perceived barriers to using innovations in the federal government could be limiting the program’s ability contribute to a culture of innovation in the federal government.
The evaluation also found that, to the extent it could control during a period of initial instability, the program is operating economically and efficiently. It should be expected that greater economy and efficiency may be achievable as the program continues its operations with greater security of its permanency and assurance of funding.
- To maintain coordination of the Program with other elements of the innovation agenda, optimize conditions for achieving its expected results, and develop mechanisms to integrate results measurement of BCIP into the results measurement of the overall innovation agenda, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Procurement should work collaboratively with officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
- The Assistant Deputy Minister, Procurement, should implement strategies to reduce barriers, real and perceived, that are precluding federal organizations from purchasing Canadian innovations
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