Wilkening Outlines Vision for Office of Digital Innovation

By Published On: August 8, 2019

Those anticipating a new tech-focused direction of Gov. Newsom’s administration have more insight this week after his top digital advisor explained where the new Office of Digital Innovation

Senior Advisor Mike Wilkening this week said the new office will be the state’s model for innovation across state agencies, during closing remarks at the Data Expo hosted by the California Health and Human Services Agency. 

The 2019 California Health and Human Services Data Expo, held on Aug. 7, finished with a closing keynote from Senior Advisory on Innovation and Digital Services Michael Wilkening, who looked ahead at upcoming plans for the Office of Digital Innovation.

Wilkening, placing an emphasis on the use of data, emphasized a focus on its use to uncover insights and to inform decision making. He also touched on the importance of maintaining and strengthening partnerships with Silicon Valley as well as California’s research universities to create a research data hub where data can be transferred safely.

Keeping with the Office of Digital Innovation’s focus on convenience and user-friendliness, Wilkening revealed plans to transition the state’s flagship website, CA.gov, into a service-based platform that will streamline and consolidate multiple state services under one single entry portal.

The overarching purpose for the Office of Digital Innovation, as defined by Wilkening, is to “recast the relationship between Californians and their government, and to reconceptualize the job of state workers.” Of course, that starts at the top.

Explaining his personal criteria when looking for a director for the Office of Digital Innovation, Wilkening used one word: scars. He stated that anyone he would recommend to the governor needed to have “done it before” and been “beaten down,” noting the difficulty of the job and the experience required to do it well.

The Office of Digital Innovation is ready to begin making progress, but Wilkening acknowledged that while culture change does not happen quickly, their efforts will pay off in the long run. 

“Five years from now, looking back at today, you will be amazed at what has changed.”

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