Three memos trying to bust contracting myths weren’t enough. Neither was a proposed rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
But maybe, just maybe, the Homeland Security Department has found a break in the wire that has stopped the government and industry from effectively talking about, sharing and solving problems.
DHS held its fourth Reverse Industry Day on June 28 in Washington, D.C. as part of its Acquisition Innovation in Motion (AIiM) initiative.
“I wanted to get the government in the audience and industry up [on stage] sharing their perspective. What drives them? What motivates them? How do they view our solicitations? Not for the purposes of critiquing, but for our learning, so we could understand their perspective, we could put ourselves in industry’s shoes and have a better conversation. We are making that progress,” said Soraya Correa, the chief procurement officer at DHS, during the recent ACT-IAC Management of Change conference. “I now have program managers who pick up the phone and say, ‘I’m not real sure. I think we should talk to industry, but I don’t have a solicitation. Can we do that?’ That’s a great question. I’m like, ‘Yes, let’s go. Let’s have a conversation.’ You don’t need a piece of paper, and in fact, you are better off, because there is nothing to protest.”
The concept of holding a reverse industry day slowly is becoming a popular way to break down these barriers in a way no other idea has before.