California

California issues open source, code reuse policy

code.ca.gov

The California Department of Technology has set a new standard for state government technology offices, releasing an open source and code reuse policy “to better support cost efficiency, effectiveness, and the public’s experience with government programs.”

“Currently, when Agencies/state entities produce custom-developed source code, they do not make their new code broadly available for state government-wide reuse,” says CDT in a newly-issued technology letter. “These challenges have resulted in duplicative acquisitions for substantially similar code and the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. Enhanced reuse of custom-developed code across state government can have significant benefits for taxpayers, including decreasing duplicative costs for the same code and reducing vendor lock-in.”

The new policy also establishes the creation of a state public code repository, located at code.ca.gov.

Related to this new policy, updates were made to the State Administrative Manual Sections 49844984.1 and 4984.2.

Read the complete technology letter.

Serving California: Angie Quirarte

Photo: Angie Quirarte

Photo: Angie Quirarte

Angie Quirarte is a behind-the-scenes hero for the state of California, leading on issues such as public sector workforce recruitment and retention, public data, creating a user-friendly government, improving  internal government processes and more.

Let’s start with your personal story. How did you get to where you are today?

I grew up in humble beginnings and benefited from public services that I now work on to improve.

The morning of September 11, 2001 I was at the Mexican border with my parents and two younger brothers. The uncertainty of the promised American Dream was worth the risk of leaving our lives and family behind. I never imagined myself working in government; but now that I am here, I realize that this is where you can honestly make a difference.

I found my way to public service through the Capital Fellows Program as an Executive Fellow in 2013 after graduating from UCSB. As an Executive Fellow I was exposed to the highest levels of state government and worked on policy issues that strive to make government better.

I didn’t think I’d stay in Sacramento after the fellowship, but the work and the mission made me fall in love with public service.

What is your role with the state of California, and what are you working on?

I was recently promoted as the new Assistant Secretary for Digital Engagement at the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps). The Agency oversees the departments with functions that make government run, including technology, procurement, and the state civil service workforce.

Within the Innovation and Accountability team at GovOps, I primarily work on policy and pilot programs that help create tomorrow’s government today by delivering better digital services, promoting the use of data to drive decision-making, and putting Californians and users at the center when designing technology projects meant to serve them.

Over the last few years I have focused on building and sustaining the open data program for the state and most recently helped coordinate the creation of the new Department of Tax and Fee Administration within a span of six weeks.

My role is to identify pockets of innovation, pilot, implement and iterate!

What’s the state of open data in California and what can we expect in the future?

Open data has slowly evolved at the state level. When I first started no one knew what open data was or why it was important. The world was fastly publishing data and I was working on steering the state in the same direction.

As I learned more about our departments and what other governments were doing, I realized that the important thing wasn’t how many datasets we could publish. What matters is the quality of the data and what one does with it.

With this in mind we highly encourage and guide that departments that publish data onto data.ca.gov must also have civic engagement. This not only validates the value of the data, but also creates a collaborative environment where government can partner with others to solve common problems.

I hope to apply more of this for the future of open data in California. We have to democratize the access of data to the people affected by programs that aren’t using it to drive positive change.

Can you share more about NxtGov and why it matters?

NxtGov is a network of public servants and partners that know government has the potential to work better for its people.

I founded NxtGov to bring pride into the profession of public service and recruit the next generation of government leaders. We provide a safe space for change agents that want to connect with others and provide professional development opportunities and community engagement events. We consult government agencies on things they should consider when recruiting and training the next generation workforce and actively coach students on the benefits of working for the state and recruit and onboard them into the state workforce.

NxtGov matters because we break the silos of government and empower our members to become change agents in their departments. We make a difference by identifying key issues affecting our workforce now and bringing decision makers to the table to address the problems as the arise.

Can you share more about the Eureka Institute and why it matters?

The Eureka Institute is a hub of the Innovation and Accountability team within GovOps.

We established the Eureka Institute to make sure that government has a space to constantly innovate. Our focus lies on innovating government by developing programs, pilots, training and tools that develop our people, improve our processes, and leverage our technology to drive better program outcomes.

Within Eureka we have the CA Statewide Leadership Academy, the CA Lean Academy, and CalData which includes the open data program. These programs are changing the way the departments operate and that matters because the Eureka Institute allows government to adapt to a changing world.

While most people would think that innovation comes from fancy technology and robots, I’ve come to learn that innovation is just another word for adaptation. Government bureaucracies must adapt their business operations in a changing world so that people can work collaboratively and leverage tools to better prepare for the government of the future.  

Who are your government heroes?

I am surrounded by many individuals at all levels who inspire me on a daily basis.

Working in public service you encounter people of all backgrounds, and I have a long list of people I’d love to recognize, but one of the most influential heroines is my boss and GovOps Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer. She was recently named as one of Governing’s Public Official of the Year, and she deserves the recognition. I’ve been fortunate to witness many leadership styles over the last few years, and she stands out for her kindness and ability to dive in. I strive to learn from her leadership and kind demeanor. Marybel constantly reminds us that we are here to serve the public.

How can others connect with you?

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon on dresses, roses and personal empowerment

Heidi Harmon

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon has an inspiring interview with the The California Report on her personal style, what it re-enforces and the sense of empowerment it gives her.

Harmon, whose signature attire is “strong but feminine” dresses (reporter John Sepulvado’s words) and a rose accessory — in her hair or pinned to her dress — that pays homage to her Pasadena roots.

Harmon shares her sentiments on not bending to norms once elected, becoming something you’re not, and her attire as a personal statement with intent, despite at times the judgmental feedback she’s received:

“That’s the mistake I think people make. They come into politics probably for really good reasons. They’re probably mostly decent people that really care about something. Something’s impacted them or their families and they want to advocate for a different way, and then they get in and there’s that really strong tendency to listen to the voices that suggest ‘oh, no, no, no, no, you can’t vote that way, you can’t you can’t say that, you can’t dress like that, because you’re not going to get re-elected.’ … For me, I have no interest in presenting in a more masculine way, which has traditionally been the model for women in business. … When I walk into a room, I want it to be really clear that a woman has entered this space. So, to me, it’s a commitment to that more feminine approach, which I think is really important, and a commitment to courage, that I am not going to allow others to decide how I am going to be in this position. … I think there’s always something threatening about a woman who takes her space, and I think this suggests that to some extent. I have something to say. I have people’s voices that aren’t being heard that I have an opportunity to represent, and I’m here to work with you, and I’m also here to take up my own space.”

Listen

San Francisco seeks CIO

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco is looking for a chief information officer.

From the announcement:

The Director of DT/CIO will have outstanding leadership qualities that will bring stability and credibility to the position. With a commitment to success and a genuine desire to be a long-term technology leader for a world class city, the Director will have frequent opportunities to focus on internal operations across a broad spectrum of needs. Top candidates for consideration will have had prior senior-level and management experience in a complex organization that promotes best practices. The Director will have an engaging and energetic style; be self-confident yet humble; and believe in inspiring, motivating, and empowering staff to achieve well defined goals.

Salary range is up to $235,820. Applications are due February 28.

Details and how to apply.

Bringing California open data to life

Okay, I admit it: Even as a champion of open data, I find that it’s often mundane to view data on a portal. Simple lists of datasets — and even the maps and charts you can create — don’t truly show the intrinsic value of data that’s been freed to benefit communities.

To really capture the meaning and potential of such data, you need people to bring data to life — in the form of local collaborations, news stories, and apps that provide the audiences you’re trying to reach with easy access to information and services. It takes people, not portals, to leverage data to improve the usage and delivery of services; raise broad awareness of issues; and inform local and statewide policymaking. For example, leveraging health data from California’s health department’s open data portal to create stories about measles-immunization rates for kindergarteners in the Golden State. Reporters and advocates harnessing this information brought this story to life.

Data just sitting on a portal can’t do that.

And all of these people who seek data for their work need to connect with each other. An advocacy organization in Fresno may want to learn from similar work being done in San Diego. A nurse at a health clinic in downtown L.A. may want to partner with a researcher at USC who’s got expertise with health data. An epidemiologist with the California Department of Public Health may want to team up with staff at local health departments.

As open data efforts statewide expand and mature, the need has become clear for data stakeholders to collaborate in these and other ways. To help address this, the California Health & Human Services Agency (CHHS) has initiated a project — tentatively dubbed the Data Commons — to help Californians make effective use of publicly available data.

This initiative, which is funded by the California HealthCare Foundation, had its roots in outreach work conducted through the California Health Data Project; I was involved with this effort, which was aimed at encouraging local use of data from the CHHS data portal. The California Health Data Project has helped bring together innovative leaders from CHHS, local governments, and, most importantly, communities  — healthcare providers, civic hackers, and advocacy groups — to ensure the state’s valuable health data is finding its way into the hands of people and organizations who can put it to good use.

During an event last year sponsored by the California Health Data Project, we had an “A-ha!” moment. At this Code for San Jose meeting, a volunteer technologist who was eager to improve his community with his technical chops commented that, while it’s great to see all these data being released, how does he — that is, someone who has no experience in health — know what to build from data that’s been made available? It’s true that he can’t rightly expect to have the subject matter expertise to know what to create, but what if he easily could pair up with a doctor who’s on the front lines of providing care, each contributing their own expertise to build data tools that can make a difference in San Jose. That’s an organizing concept around the Data Commons that CHHS wants to build.

The project, still in its formative stages, is a team effort involving CHHS, Purchia Communications, and CivicMakers. They’re all eager to gather input as this project evolves, so stay tuned for specific ways you can contribute. In the meantime, fill out this form to express your interest and join the project email list.

Bay Area cities team with startups to solve civic problems, scale government innovation

STIR 2016

Bay Areas cities San Francisco, Oakland, West Sacramento and San Leandro teamed with startups this year as part of the Startup in Residence program to “explore ways to use technology to make government more accountable, efficient and responsive.”

The 2016 cohort included 14 companies that worked with the cities over 16 weeks, and the teams made their presentations Friday (see #STIR2016).

All of the projects were fantastic, but Binti really stood out and opened my eyes to the impact modernized technology can have on truly changing lives.

The STIR program started in 2014 and serves as a model for other geographic regions that want to create momentum around civic technology and scaling government innovation.

Big shout to Jeremy Goldberg, Krista Canellakis, Jay Nath, the SF Office of Civic Innovation, an incredible team of ambassadors and mentors, Monique Woodard from 500 Startups and, of course, Lawrence Grodeska and the CivicMakers team. It’s inspiring to see public sector leaders working proactively with startups to break through the procurement and technology mold and bring better digital services to those they serve.

For those interested in participating in the the 2017 cohort, see the participation requirements and apply.

San Francisco seeks chief digital services officer to lead online strategy, execution

Port of San Francisco (Photo: Luke Fretwell)

Port of San Francisco (Photo: Luke Fretwell)

San Francisco announced the creation of a new internal digital agency and is looking for a chief digital services officer to lead its efforts.

From the announcement:

The Digital Services Team will partner with departments to modernize digital services citywide. Four fundamental principles guide this task: put the needs of residents first, focus on delivery and outcomes over process, promote an agile and data driven culture, and make City services accessible to everyone.

It’s unclear what the roadmap is for building a support team to execute the city’s digital strategy, and what influence the new role will have in determining its underlying technology, but this is currently the best job opening in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Plus, you get to work closely with Joy Bonaguro and Jay Nath.

Apply here.

City enthusiasts, innovators: Register for BRIDGE SF

Golden Gate Bridge (photo: Luke Fretwell)

Golden Gate Bridge (photo: Luke Fretwell)

San Francisco Bay Area city enthusiasts and innovators can now register for BRIDGE SF, “a collaboration of public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions coming together to challenge assumptions, develop skills, share best practices, and build partnerships that drive innovation for a better tomorrow.”

The conference, held in multiple areas around the Bay Area over four days, will foucs on topics such as smart cities, mobility, Internet of things, sustainability, resiliency, economic development and arts and culture.

BRIDGE SF is a collaboration between the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, the University of California, Berkeley and City Innovate Foundation.

Learn more and register.

Superpublic wants to supercharge municipal government innovation

City Innovate CEO Kamran Saddique

City Innovate CEO Kamran Saddique

Earlier this week, the City Innovate Foundation was joined by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, U.S. General Services Administration Administrator Denise Turner Roth and the U.S. Department of Commerce to announce a first-of-its-kind Innovation lab to solve urban problems and scale solutions at 50 United Nations Plaza — the birthplace of the U.N.

The 5,000 sq. ft. lab Superpublic unites under the same roof for the first time innovation teams from the private industry, federal, state and city government agencies and from universities. City Innovate Foundation staff will coordinate the activity of member organizations and put on programming that builds capacity among members to solve problems, prototype solutions and create innovative approaches to policies that accelerate change.

City Innovate CEO Kamran Saddique sat down with GovFresh to share how Superpublic will work and what’s next for the innovation lab down the hall from 18F.

Give us the 140-character elevator pitch.

Superpublic is a platform for public, private, and non-profit sectors to work together to address the most pressing challenges facing cities.

What problem(s) does Superpublic solve for government or residents/citizens?

To start, we expect to work on three main problems:

Digital services in government: More than ever before, residents now expect services to be available online. The development of new digital services is an opportunity to rethink how we deliver services to ensure every resident has the access they need. The City of SF is looking to replicate the success of 18F and U.S. Digital Service to create new teams within their respective organizations

Smart cities: How we move ourselves and goods around is rapidly changing. We can either embrace and shape these changes or be at the mercy of them. San Francisco has chosen to lead the way by putting people first in developing safer, more equitable and innovative solutions to transportation challenges. The City of SF is working with DOT, DOE, and DOC on advancing smart cities in San Francisco and nationally – specifically on mobility in the near term.

Performance-based procurement: How do we make sure that the money spent by the government delivers tangible results? How can we use procurement terms to cut cycle time and/or improve quality? We will work to advance innovative financing models to increase impact and accountability.

What’s the story behind starting Superpublic?

We were inspired by the example of the Superpublic lab in Paris, which was opened in November 2014 by the 27e Région and a group of innovation professionals (Plausible Possible, Care and Co, Counterpoint), with the City of Paris, the French National State (SGMAP), and a public bank called Caisse des Dépôts.

For us, Superpublic means providing a workspace where city, state, and federal agencies can come together and work on problems facing the Bay Area. San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose are all expected to benefit from the work of Superpublic as are agencies that operate at the county, state and federal level.

Superpublic provides space, curates programming, convenes summits, roundtables, and training programs to build capacity so that all parties to the lab (government, private companies, non profits, universities) can work together better.

Superpublic will open its doors July 2016.

What makes Superpublic different than other innovation labs?

Across the globe, cities look to San Francisco as the “innovation capital of the world” – to quote San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. This is the first innovation lab set up by a city government to solve problems prioritized by the city.

The lab, managed by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, GSA and City Innovate Foundation will break down silos between different layers of government. Superpublic will bring together multiple layers of government in the same location and act as a catalyst for product and service development to drive more responsive and efficient government. Solutions that come out of the Lab will get commercialized by City Innovate Foundation with the objective to be scaled to other cities in the City Innovate Foundation network.

What will a typical day will look like at Superpublic?

The day starts off with a morning coffee session in the community area where new members introduce themselves and open discussions can take place to ensure communication flows freely between representatives from different organizations.

The project teams have dedicated team work spaces which they can configure to their needs to execute their tasks within the overall milestone-based project management method based on Lean Startup for the process and Scrum for technical development work.

The Superpublic Steering Committee through city/state and federal agencies have sourced a list of problem sets through their constituents which get narrowed to a focused list of 3 or 4 problems. These are explored by a taskforce led by City Innovate for a screening process for approval by the Steering Committee. Upon approval, representatives from lead cities, academic, and industry prepare the proposed projects for financial feasibility and scalability to other cities in the U.S.

This now includes formulating the city problem to be solved, developing a user narrative, mapping out the relevant ecosystem, and key skills needed in a project team as well as an estimation of project timeline, cost and possible funding of the effort.

The afternoon will have delegations visiting from other cities to exchange on city problems and discussions how the Superpublic model could be applied to their cities. The approved projects are kicked off by the team taking over their dedicated working space, being celebrated by everybody from the other teams, partners and City Innovate Foundation.

I’m part of an organization that wants to become a member of the Lab, what should I do?

Send an email to concierge@cityinnovate.org stating your name, your organization’s name, and the nature of your interest. A phone number is helpful.

How can those interested connect with you (website, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.)?

You can learn more about Superpublic at www.cityinnovate.org/superpublic and on Facebook and Twitter.

California seeks chief data officer

California State Capitol Building (Photo: Jeff Turner)

California State Capitol Building (Photo: Jeff Turner)

The state of California is looking for a chief data officer to “promote the availability and use of data in state government.”

The position resides within California Government Operations Agency and will report directly to GovOps Secretary Marybel Batjer.

From GovOps:

This is a Governor’s appointment and review and assessment of applicants will be handled by the Governor’s appointments office. All questions should be referred to the appointments office.

How to apply:

The actual process of applying involves going to the appointments page at gov.ca.gov, and at the bottom of the window, clicking on the “Begin Application” button. At Question #3, “Positions Sought,” scroll to the Gov Ops Agency section, where the position is listed at Gov Ops Agency, Chief Data Officer.

Position description:

Reporting to the Agency Secretary, the Chief Data Officer will have statewide responsibility for three key initiatives based on data collected in the normal course of state business to improve transparency, efficiency and accountability in state operations.

These initiatives are:

  • Developing the statewide open data portal and related governance and policy on standards, storage and privacy, as well as a statewide open data strategic plan and programs to promote civic engagement and innovation.
  • Fostering and promoting a culture of data use by enabling and encouraging departments to share data to collaborate on common issues and related programs.
  • Employing and analyzing operational data to improve program performance.

The Chief Data Officer is the primary steward of the data portal for the state’s public data, which enables public access to data in a variety of formats. The CDO also is responsible for working with state boards, departments and offices to ensure that state data is accessible through the portal. The CDO oversees development of the standards and structure to support these efforts, as well as incorporation of the state’s geo-portal, in consultation with the Department of Technology, into the statewide open data portal. The Chief Data Officer will maintain and expand the state’s data inventory and establish procedures for adding new data sets and regularly updating existing data sets.

The Chief Data Officer will promote opportunities to demonstrate the value of data in decision making; support and encourage events to encourage public use of open data for innovation, and support and encourage activities to enhance collaboration among departments and agencies through shared data.

Desired Skills and Experience:

  • Well-versed in the principles of open data, open government and Government 2.0.
  • Understanding of state government processes and practices (legislative process, budget process, etc.).
  • Technically knowledgeable, with some familiarity with using and building software applications that employ open data.
  • Strong communicator with internal and external stakeholders on deeper technical issues.
  • Understanding of different of open data formats and the pros & cons of different data formats.
  • Understanding of APIs, GIS systems and mapping concepts.
  • Familiarity with different options for open data portals (both commercial & open source).
  • Understanding of process reengineering.
  • Understanding and experience in change management, organizational performance measurement and organizational performance management.
  • Understanding of big data analysis techniques and their application in government setting.
  • Experience in quantitative analysis.

Ideal qualities:

  • Awareness of and experience with open data tools, such as those available through GitHub, and a variety of different data storage technologies.
  • Understanding of specific areas of state activity that are data intensive – such as energy and water regulation, health, public safety, etc.
  • Excellent writing and public speaking skills.