Public procurement is frequently touted as a means of promoting innovation at the sub-national level, but the underlying mechanisms through which this is supposed to work are seldom articulated. In particular, while the relevance of social interaction for innovation is offered as a key rationale for the use of public procurement for innovation (PPI), there is little discussion of its corresponding spatial dimensions. This paper contributes to this debate by advancing our understanding of the spatial aspects of PPI and thus of the scope for using public procurement to achieve regional innovation policy goals. We connect the PPI literature with the literatures on innovation-driven regional development around the notion of ‘conversations’ to capture the spatial and social aspects of interactions relevant for PPI. Different forms of spatial anchoring of procurement, presenting different challenges and opportunities for regions, are explored. We provide illustrative examples for each type, from which implications are derived for promoting place-based ‘innovation friendly’ procurement.