What Newsom's Office of Innovation Could Look Like

Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed budget contains several innovative ideas, including an Office of Digital Innovation run by the Government Operations Agency headed by Secretary Marybel Batjer.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom's proposed budget includes several innovative ideas, including an Office of Digital Innovation run by the Government Operations Agency headed by Secretary Marybel Batjer.

In a response to inquiries from Techwire, the Department of Finance's Chief Operating Officer Richard Gillihan explained some of the details from this $36.2 million proposal from Newsom's administration.

"We wanted to create an entity at the state level that had both the policy authority and the operational capability to really drive a culture change across the executive branch," Gillihan told Techwire in an email.

The office will align with the governor's past statements, according to Gillihan, focusing on customer-centric design; innovation outside of just technology; digital service delivery; and "driving a mindset change across the leadership of California."

The office is housed under GovOps because it aligns with the agency's foundation of innovation, efficiency and improving government, Gillihan said.

"This is an investment and a singular focus to improve service delivery to Californians by its state government," Gillihan said. "The thought here being that this institute would have authority to set goals and policy direction for digital service delivery and other innovation, and help departments get there."

It will add to things departments are already doing under GovOps, but the California Department of Technology's (CDT) Office of Innovation will keep doing what it is doing. CDT's office will be renamed, and any overlap will allow the office to fold those resources back into CDT.

Under the Office of Digital Innovation will also be an innovation academy that will be required for all managers and supervisors in state service, not just IT workers. The academy will focus on change management, innovation as a mindset, continuous improvements in business processes and project sponsorship.

"If you look at our history of troubled IT projects," Gillihan said, "much of the trouble we experienced in those projects has to do with the lack of adequate change management, particularly with the end users."

The academy will also retroactively train the IT force in Newsom's new procurement method, which is referred to as RFI2 — Request for Innovative Ideas.

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.