Newsom’s first-day executive order prioritizes government technology procurement reform

Photo: Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
Photo: Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

California Governor Gavin Newsom wasted no time on his first day in office addressing what many see as the most critical — albeit bureaucratic — issue impacting the state’s government technology challenges: procurement.

“Technology and innovation can be deployed to address some of the State’s most pressing challenges, but only if we modernize our procurement processes to ensure that solutions fit the problems they are designed to solve,” states Executive Order N-04-19.

Newsom’s order calls for a move away from the traditional specifications-based approach to technology procurement, instead advocating for one where the state outlines a problem area and looks to others — “state experts, vendors, entrepreneurs, and scientists from a range of industries” — to offer innovative technology solutions that “yield more comprehensive and effective results.”

As part of this initiative, Newsom is proposing a new “Request for Innovative Ideas,” or RFI2, where the state will “ask innovators to design solutions to our most complex problems, instead of the tradition RFP process, wherein the State predefines the solution and vendors bid for a narrowly defined contract.”

“This new approach to procurement capitalizes upon California’s innovation economy by asking better questions, leading to new and better outcomes for our State’s residents,” states the order.

Read Executive Order N-04-19

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at


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