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Tender SURE and the complex coordination

Looking at processes right from the scratch is an efficient way to create successful products as well as efficient sidewalks.

Some of streets in Bangalore attained international standards last year. The credit goes to Tender SURE (Specifications for Urban Road Extension) project, a multi-crore project aiming to upgrade roads in the Central Business District to international standards. Tender SURE is the brain child of Jana Urban Space Foundation, a non-profit trust looking at urban planning and urban designing. It works along with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bangalore’s Municipal Corporation. The guidelines created under Tender SURE are the first design, specifications, and procurement contract, for urban roads execution in India.

Unlike previous projects, Tender SURE guidelines focus on pedestrians and cyclists rather than the main road traffic. The aim of this project is to provide space for the pedestrians, parked vehicles and hawkers along the streets while keeping the traffic free flowing. In order to attain all the resources required to achieve this objective, the Tender SURE project is working with various government bodies responsible for variety of projects.

This coordination done under Tender SURE is what Peter Thiel in his book Zero to One calls complex coordination. Complex coordination refers to the processes that involves putting “all the components together in a completely new package.” As per Thiel, repackaging helps in innovating the processes right from the beginning. It also reduces the inefficiency cost incurred and improves the outcomes. Tesla Motors, an American automobile and energy storage company serves as a good example for complex coordination. Tesla came up with first set of luxury electric cars by repackaging all components of a car. In this process, Tesla ended up with an ingenious product and created a dealer distribution system from scratch. A distribution system without the dealers. In order to attain similar outcomes, it is vital that city planners are able to coordinate and reimagine policies  from square one.

In this process of re-examining urban issues, complex coordination also creates incentives for government authorities to collaborate amongst each other. This inter departmental interaction reduces informations asymmetry in-between government bodies and allows easy execution of the plans made.  For instance, Tender SURE is modelled with the aim to “fix once and fix right”. It assures that the pavements are designed in such a manner that they accommodate all utilities under the pavement like – electric wires, sewerage and water pipes in one go. Hence, it requires coordination between various government authorities like Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Board, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company etc. This co-ordination helps in reducing the asymmetry between the various arms of the municipality.

Out of 20 pilot roads that the Government of Karnataka has allocated budget for under the Tender SURE project, design and working drawings for 12 have completed till date. However, the real success of the project lies on whether it will be able to make citizens demand for more such projects that looks at the problems and solution right from the scratch.

Devika Kher is a policy analyst at Takshashila Institution. Her twitter handle is @DevikaKher.

Image source: http://www.nammasarkara.in/cm-siddaramaiah-opens-world-class-tendersure-urban-up-gradation-road-project/

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One Response to Tender SURE and the complex coordination

  1. Guru Aiyar January 17, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    I like the philosophy “fix it once, fix it right”. But this has huge cost implications. Majority of tendering processes in the government sector go to the lowest bidder (L1). Delivering quality has cost implications. This is where we need to get the policy right.

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