A straightforward process for collecting innovation concepts and making them a reality

Hort Innovation invests approximately $100 million annually into research and development and marketing programs to provide benefit to Australian horticulture growers, the wider horticulture sector and the community.

Previously, for Hort Innovation’s predecessor – Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), and during the transition phase for Hort Innovation, a grant based funding process was used where project proposals could be entered through an externally accessible web portal.

What is the Innovation Concept Pipeline?

Hort Innovation’s business model uses a procurement based investment process. This process no longer invites detailed project proposals from external sources in the first instance. Instead, simple summary concepts are invited and prioritised in consultation with Hort Innovation’s Strategic Investment Advisory Panels.

This new process involves any interested party submitting a concept via the Concept Proposal Form. The form allows Hort Innovation to understand the basic concept, with a focus on aims and outcomes rather than detail of method. This approach aims to protect, as far as possible, IP associated with innovative ideas, while capturing opportunities that can be shaped into full proposals should there be an identified alignment between the concept and strategic priority.

The investment analysis process involves filtering and potentially combining concepts for procurement. Once approval to invest in a concept is granted, a Request for Proposal will be prepared, asking delivery partners (open or select, depending on size and scope) to provide submissions that address key criteria. All responses will then be evaluated against key criteria before contracting the investment.

Advantages of the new process

The new process requires less information upfront so concept submissions can be created and received faster. Additionally, there is one main process for handling all concept submissions and the concepts will move through an investment analysis process to then develop and incubate the concept with consultation and advice from industry.

The new system will allow one process and entry point to increase Hort Innovation’s ability to process more concepts and improve traceability. From this entry point, a clear pipeline can be built to manage the process to investment and to increase innovation within and across horticulture industries. The procurement process will provide a shorter timeframe from proposal to contract for successful submissions.

Most importantly, the new process will enable the implementation of the company’s new procurement and innovation processes, which is critical to increase focus on value created and return on levy and public funding co-investment.

What will happen to existing project proposals?

The Concept Proposal Form will be the primary method used to capture new concepts for investment. Any existing project proposals will be transitioned through the process and evaluated or procured on a case-by-case basis.

Wherever possible, industry priority areas will be prepared and released to the market through a procurement. If there are existing proposals that meet the general criteria of this procurement, Hort Innovation will make best endeavours to contact the project proposal owner and encourage them to “re-submit” a proposal to address the specific requirements of the procurement. Any successful proposals will be contracted and funded in a way similar to the previous process.

New procurement framework in brief

Whilst the framework is flexible, in general Hort Innovation commissions research, development and marketing programs using the following key steps:

Submit an innovation concept  Concept Proposal Form