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Leadership Structure Becoming Clearer for New Office of Digital Innovation

The state outlines the top leadership roles, details the internal reporting structure, lays out areas of focus for each division, and offers a justification for why each role is needed.

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Details are emerging about the leadership structure planned for the state’s new Office of Digital Innovation (ODI), which Gov. Gavin Newsom touts as a way to streamline technology in state government.  

The California Department of Human Resources (CalHR) published job descriptions last week for the new leadership positions. The overall ODI plan has passed the Assembly and awaits state Senate approval, and it would take effect July 1.  

The new office would be managed by a chief deputy director, who would have four Career Executive Assignment (CEA) direct reports. Here are the four job descriptions and a summary of each, according to CalHR:

  • Deputy Director of Training: “This position will participate in the development and implementation of statewide and departmental policy, create a statewide training program about digital services for executives and management, and ensure that each position within ODI will receive the necessary training to be able to perform their job at a high level.”
  • Head of Strategy, Operations and Procurement: “The CEA will be responsible for identifying new policies, or changes to existing policies, that are needed to improve how state government applies digital innovative to meet the public’s evolving needs and enrich customer experiences. Examples of policy areas for which this CEA will have responsibilities include website design, open data, employee professional development, and procurement policies as they relate to fostering digital innovation in the State of California.”
  • Head of Engineering: “The Head of Engineering within the Office of Digital Innovation is one of four CEAs who will lead groups of employees in multi-disciplinary teams to collaborate with departments on digital services using design, technology, data and behavioral insights to deliver better services for Californians. ODI focuses on user-centered design and improving public services in California.”
  • Head of Design and User Experience (UX): “The Head of Design and User Experience within the Office of Digital Innovation is one of four CEAs who will lead groups of employees in multi-disciplinary teams to collaborate with departments on digital services using design, technology, data and behavioral insights to deliver better services for Californians. ODI focuses on user-centered design and improving public services in California.”
The new Office of Digital Innovation will bear the same name as an existing entity within the California Department of Technology (CDT). The technology department will rename its operation, and the new agency will assume the ODI appellation. The new ODI will come under the auspices of the state Government Operations Agency (GovOps).

The new entity would work directly with other state agencies to improve or modernize procedures and policies, including the beleaguered Department of Motor Vehicles.

GovOps is continuing its recruitment for an overall director of the new ODI.

Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in Northern California.