Wilkening: State will soon identify projects for innovation office

Published On: February 12, 2020

Mike Wilkening, Governor Newsom’s special advisor on digital innovation, gave opening remarks at the CIO Academy in Sacramento on Feb. 6 , providing an update on the Office of Digital Innovation (ODI) that was proposed a year ago in the governor’s first budget proposal.   The 50-person unit is described as a “startup inside of state government” designed to improve government services and help address California’s historically poor track record on developing IT projects.

Key Points from his 16-minute speech:

  • The state has not yet recruited a director for the new office, but it is moving forward with staffing while it continues to search.
  • The new office will also start identifying projects to partner with state agencies. Watch for more in March when the Code for America conference is held in Washington, D.C.
  • The governance structure for ODI includes GovOps, CDT and the Governor’s Office.
  •  Two approaches that offer hope are the state’s growing ability to manage risk and a new emphasis on user-centered design.
  • The Alpha.ca.gov project is trying to rethink the way Californians interact with government, with user-centered design and working transparently, it’s different than anything California has ever done.
  • The governor appointed a chief data officer recently as the state makes data strategy a higher priority, including the search for a new geospatial information officer.

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