I have a technically risky hardware product need and looking for innovative, produciblesolutions. Does anyone have any experience/recommendations on how to conduct a competition to minimize risk before a key vendor is selected?
Actually that is exactly how DoD has bought since the early 70s when Dave Packard was undersecretary in charge of acquisitions. This is also how HP purchased items, at least at that time.
when you mention "technically risky hardware product need and looking for innovative, producible solutions". You are implying that its going to be costly, someone need to innovate for you free which is going to cost them & you need a highly efficient production from a large manufacture with specialized equipment.
You are looking a very unique skill sets which would not be available or not easy to get access to. In fact you might have find and request them to consider you as large manufactures would not spend much time in R&D with you. You would need to do your own research and talk to various manufactures to understand who can do what? You might have even run by multiple facilities depending on the complexity. On above all you need to do risk analysis and own the risk if you pass on the risk you would be charged for risk coverage also. On product you should have couple of vendors at least not just 1 to minimize the risks.
If you need any further help let me know I could if we could help you on this.
There are a lot easier ways to reduce risk. Pushing the risk onto a PSF is just going to find the all desperate PSFs - and they are desperate for a reason.