California is the world’s fifth largest economy and home to the most innovative technology companies in the world. California’s Department of Technology (CDT) has worked hard to modernize how Californians are able to interact with state government. But like many state governments, California faces barriers to updating statewide services due to siloed agencies, bespoke technologies, and legacy systems.
As California’s State CIO and Deputy State CIO have noted, “Our current pace of [digital] transformation simply isn’t fast enough to meet the needs of the Californians we serve.”
CDT set out to create a strategic plan for achieving its vision for 2023 — a state government that uses technology to power digital services that aren’t just more efficient, but also more compassionate and inclusive of the nearly 40 million people who live in California.
CDT tapped the knowledge and experience of multidisciplinary experts to build their vision and strategic plan for 2023 -- including Bloom Works and our partner, Very Little Gravitas.
To uphold its reputation as a global leader in technology and innovation, the state needed a plan that was both bold and achievable. We worked with CDT to understand their goals and the roadblocks they’ve encountered. We conducted extensive research to understand the needs and constraints of government stakeholders, including the people who use services and departments that provide them.
As part of that work, the team:
- Conducted over 60 interviews and meetings with leaders and staff across government, technology companies, and the civic technology community
- Synthesized survey responses from about 8,000 staff across 19 departments, supervisors and managers at the California Department of Technology, and Chief Information Officers
- Held a collaboration session and survey with technology vendors, including tech companies that have never worked with the state
- Reviewed technology reports including the Employment Development Department Strike Team’s detailed assessment and recommendations
- Leveraged our professional experience and the experiences, successes, and challenges of civic technologists across the country
In less than 6 months, the team was able to conduct this extensive research and distill our findings and recommendations into California’s Vision 2023.
As the State CIO and Deputy State CIO write, “In our vision, all public services will be easy to use, accessible and reliable, ready and available wherever and whenever needed. … We present Vision 2023 as a call to empower over 200,000 public servants, local government, the technology community and our public.” In addition to guiding principles for CDT, Vision 2023 provides a set of challenge statements to strategically drive the state’s progress.
In the spirit of sharing what we learned with the broader community — within California and between other states — we published the detailed results and insights from our user research. There, we share direct quotes from interviews, survey results, and themes around challenges and opportunities throughout the research.
CDT’s next steps include engaging stakeholders across agencies, establishing “challenges teams” to systematically make progress toward the Vision 2023’s goals, and facilitating lasting change.