Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

How to simplify a complex procurement process, make it more sustainable and seamless to navigate

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) - Kompass Nachhaltigkeit

Rough Project Outline

Buying sustainable products and taking into account the huge jungle of sustainability standards is a complicated process in public procurement. With a team of usability and Design Thinking experts J2C developed a user-centered web tool for the analysis of sustainability standards for the target group of public procurers. The task given by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation) was to uncover the needs and expectations of public procurers concerning the use and value added of a web tool analyzing sustainability standards, so that they can easily integrate it into their daily work. The goal: shed light into the jungle of sustainability standards and ease the life of public procurers when creating tenders to buy sustainable commodities of any kind. The final prototype facilitates the process for procurers by delivering required data and incentivizing them to consider sustainable standards through the backdoor.

Initial Challenge

How can we ease the life of public procurers by making the analysis of sustainability standards more transparent and easy to apply, in order to simplify the bidding process and optimize their daily routine?

Imagine you want to buy new and sustainable products for a Ministry. As a public procurer you have to create an official document (tender) to receive offers from traders and manufacturers. The tender needs to list the sustainability standards you want to be met and it needs to consider all legal requirements given. In short, procurement processes can become overwhelming and extremely time consuming (and time is something you don’t have). Therefore, a tool for analyzing sustainability standards would be of great help to you. GIZ was asking: How could such a tool look like? What features would it have to have to maximize its use and help the public procurers?


A highly complex and law-regulated field demanded in depth understanding of the user needs, the whole procurement process and the regulations around it to develop a useful guide solution for the users. Thus, it was essential for us to understand the users’ needs and particularly their daily workflow and the problems they face.

We narrowed our user group into public procurers in bigger administrative authorities, such as Ministries, due to focus and time constraints.

The project included high level expert- and user interviews, two user testings of continuously advanced prototypes and the development of a refined clickable prototype until its implementation on Kompass-Nachhaltigkeit.

The project was split into two meta-phases; a research phase & implementation phase.

The research phase:

  1. Stakeholder identification
  2. Defining the real challenge
  3. Stakeholder analysis
  4. User journey: Pain points, Gaps; Advantages; Opportunities
  5. Developing a first prototype & getting feedback from users

The Implementation phase

  1. Wireframe prototyping, Clickable Mock-ups & handover
  2. Feedback, Usability check & final iteration
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J2C delivered a solution that decreased time and frustrations: a hassle-free guide and tool for the integration of the sustainability standards for tenders.

Together with GIZ we created and iterated the prototype solution. After narrowing it on a feasible solution we handed over our discoveries and wireframes to IT-developers, who build the tool according to our usability standards. As a final part of the project we tested the beta version with a user group and iterated it accordingly to optimize real life usage.

The online tool empowers public procurers to comprise sustainability standards within their bidding while facilitating the process to identify potential applicants. It eases the process of designing the bidding and incorporates sustainable aspects because it delivers transparency of the standards.

It was amazing how quickly J2C grasped the complex topic in a short period of time and delivered a gaining user-centered solution. - GIZ Employee

GIZ about J2C

Insight #1

Keep on asking questions, be observant and be open. It will trigger the right answers.

Insight #2

You can deliver a simple solution that goes beyond the initial requirements and specifications.

Insight #3

A napkin sketch drawn during lunch can initiate a process that leads to the final prototype.

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