Strategic Planning (Informal) RFP for the Illinois Innovation Network

Printable Version of Informal RFP

Under this small purchase procurement, the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) is seeking an experienced strategic planning consultant to design and facilitate a planning process and develop a three-year strategic plan for the IIN.

About the Illinois Innovation Network

The Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) is a system of university-community-industry-based hubs throughout the state that works together to drive innovation along with economic and workforce development across Illinois.  The IIN Council represents 12 public universities and three hubs. IIN Members include community colleges, non-profit organizations, private sector representatives, and other governmental agencies. The administrative agent to the network is the Office of the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation at the University of Illinois System (OVPEDI).  Please see the following website for additional information.

Planning Needs

The IIN was formally announced in May 2019 and governance activities have taken place.  IIN themes and principles were established. The next step, and the deliverables for this project, is to develop a strategic plan by establishing a vision, mission, strategic goals, specific programs/activities, milestones, and key performance indicators for the network for the next three years. The strategic plan will be inclusive, equity-based, and will reflect the guiding principles and values of its members.    

Staffing Requirements

We seek a consultant who will help design a planning process in spring 2021, facilitate two mini-retreats in the summer of 2021, and deliver a written strategic plan by September 30, 2021.  Consultants will provide expert staff to support their design and consultation efforts and will coordinate their efforts through their team lead. The consultant will be working with the University of Illinois and hub representatives from throughout Illinois, coordinating their work with IIN Executive Director Kyle Harfst or his delegates. 

Consultants who have experience in strategic planning with higher education entities and/or non-profits and equity are preferred.

Period of Performance

The consultant would commence activities upon written approval of the contract and no later than two weeks after such approval. The contract period would be for a four-month period, with an expected completion date of no later than September 30, 2021. Any revisions to the timeline require the written approval of the IIN Executive Director. Any revisions to the contract require the written approval of OVPEDI.

RFP Timeline

The following timeline is provided for informational purposes. The University reserves the right to modify the timeline as needed to complete the objectives of this Request for Proposal.

·       May 10, 2021                University Issue of Request for Proposals

·       June 1, 2021                 Deadline for Bid Submission

·       June 2-7, 2021              Review Submissions and Schedule Interviews

·       June 7-11, 2021            Conduct Interviews of Finalists

·       June 21, 2021               Work to commence no later than this date

Project Timeline and Deliverables

The University reserves the right to modify the Project Timeline and Deliverables as needed to complete the objectives of this Request for Proposal. Any changes to this timeline must be pre-authorized in writing by the University.

·       Commencement of Scope of Work Activities: no later than June 21, 2021

·       Kick-Off Meeting: no later than June 25, 2021

·       Facilitation of two mini-retreats: no later than August 15, 2021

·       Draft Strategic Plan: no later than September 17, 2021

·       Final Strategic Plan (both in Word and PowerPoint)  [We could move this to November 2021)


Competitive reviews will be conducted of consultant hourly fees, project budget, and costs associated with this effort. While no floor or ceiling has been established, it is anticipated that the competitive cost would reflect the effort and the use of public funds.

Travel expenses, to the extent that in person facilitation is authorized, may be charged to this effort. Note that the University of Illinois currently does not authorize in person meetings due to the COVID 19 pandemic and conducts its business through audio/digital/video platforms. The consultant would be expected to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another platform readily accessible to the participants.

Payment will be made according to pre-established milestones and activities, including design, facilitation of two-mini retreats, and submission of accepted vision, mission, and strategic goals. Due to the short period of performance, payment be made in one installment upon completion of the entire project. The University reserves the right to make payment contingent upon satisfactory performance of the contract.

Selection Criteria

IIN staff will conduct a Technical Review to ensure compliance with the requirements for submission and forward all complete bids to the Selection Panel. A Selection Panel will be comprised of IIN members, IIN staff, and/or University staff, in compliance with conflict of interest and confidentiality requirements of the University. The initial Merit Review will focus on best value to the University, assessing content of proposed scope of work, past performance, familiarity with institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations, level of effort, hourly rate, and total project cost. Finalist(s) will be invited to present their proposal(s) to a pre-selected team during a video interview. The winning proposal, if any, may be selected following that interview. 

The University retains the right to select one or more consultants based on their proposals, to decline all proposals, to re-issue a Requests for Proposals, and to cancel this Request for Proposals for the strategic planning process defined above.

Response Requested

All interested parties should submit a brief (2 page maximum) statement of qualifications and your approach to strategic planning.  You should also provide an estimate of projected fees for services, including hourly rates and anticipated ancillary costs.  The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on June 1, 2021, and all submissions should be sent to  We will review responses by June 11, 2021, and will schedule interviews for finalists in in June.  

Inquiries and Questions

If you have any questions, please contact Kyle Harfst at