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So our IT guys have set up an “incubation lab”. This will allow them to play with potential tools already available commercially, and see what breaks (of their stuff or ours) and what we like. Or to consider whether we can justify building it ourselves, as opposed to buying it. Now they want to do something like this— Release a single solicitation Make (basically) identical awards to, say, 4 companies. With option years. and 3 stages. Potential XXX gazillion dollars for each award. Initial period, for EVALUATION IN OUR ENVIRONMENT (XXX thousand dollars, a few months) Follow on for FURTHER DEMONSTRATION OF FURTHER CAPABILITIES (significantly more money. More months) And then IMPLEMENTATION (Potential XXX gazillion dollars for each award, up to 4 additional years.) Fleshed out a bit-- Initial period, for EVALUATION IN OUR ENVIRONMENT Each company will come in and show off, and let us play with their toys for a few months. We will pay for their expenses. Follow on for DEMONSTRATION OF FURTHER CAPABILITIES If we like Company A and B, we can exercise an option to have JUST THOSE companies come in for more playtime. Again, paid, but more money, and a longer time. BUT the same options for companies C&D are NOT exercised. But these are options, so those companies cannot object. (as opposed to a new award) After whatever time it takes, we decide we like company A more, because it is “friendlier” (note: not a defensible argument for sole source, but often what I am given) For IMPLEMENTATION we exercise options with COMPANY A only. And company B cannot object, because those are OPTIONS. Have you come across anything like this? Any pros or cons leap out? NOTE: We do NOT have any of those special OTHER TRANSACTIONAL AUTHORITIES that some other agencies have been given. Just vanilla civilian agency FAR. NOTE: We have looked at and rejected the USDS 8(a) Digital Service Initiative for “Select the Tech”, https://techfarhub.cio.gov/initiatives/8a/. While this may be a great thing for smaller agencies, our guys want to do the eval themselves.