New Innovative Procurement Approach Sees First Results

Published On: September 19, 2019

Last January, Gov. Gavin Newsom spent his first day in office signing an executive order to create a Request For Innovative Ideas, a new technology contracting process created in response to 2018’s devastating fire season. The executive order also called for a Wildlife Innovation Sprint that would produce a new contract to be awarded for cutting-edge firefighting technology ahead of the upcoming fire season.

Nine months later, on Wednesday, Sept. 18, Gov. Newsom announced two new innovative contracts that were selected out of 131 proposals: one worth $383,000 awarded to Technosylva, Inc., and another worth $1.6 million awarded to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. 

Both vendors will conduct small-scale “Proof of Concept” tests for CAL FIRE to determine whether their solutions will be implemented statewide after the initial contract expiration on Dec. 31, 2019. Ten other applicant vendors were chosen to be part of an innovator pool for future consideration. 

Both contracts propose technology that would be able to detect and locate wildfires before they spread. Technosylva’s contract outlines the development of a technology to predict the path a wildfire will take based on advanced cloud-based modeling, while Northrop Grumman’s contract includes the creation of an early wildfire ignition detection system.

“The use of innovative and groundbreaking technology to bolster response to wildfires will help our firefighters and first responders tremendously, and if we can predict the patterns of a fire, we will be able to save lives and property,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. 

“The state will ask innovators to design solutions to our most complex problems instead of the traditional RFP process, wherein the state predefines the solutions and vendors bid for a narrowly defined contract,” says the executive order issued in January.   

About the Author: Will Keys

Will Keys writes about technology issues for the GovReport. He is a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. He can be reached at will at govreport.org