January 1, 2022 • Uncategorized

New Technology Modernization Fund Formalizes Accelerated IT Project Approval Process for California

Building upon the success of coronavirus-related technology acquisitions, California’s Governor made a $25M fund available to the California Department of Technology (CDT) to demonstrate an accelerated technology project review and funding approval process. Formally known as the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), the Fund saw its first round launch in November 2021.

City Innovate’s experience with our Start-up In Residence (STIR) program – which pairs innovative technology companies together with governments via CBP – and our suite of enterprise applications tailored to manage acquisitions – from project intake and evaluation through market research and ultimately to solicitation and contract building – uniquely qualifies us to continue working with the CDT to build and implement the TMF. We are proud to be working in partnership with the CDT towards the ultimate goal of making immediate investments in IT that will yield quick and meaningful results for the people of California.

What is the Technology Modernization Fund?

The Technology Modernization Fund is a challenge-based approach to surfacing and approving California state departments’ or entities’ business problems. The TMF bridges funding requirements up until the need for a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) by making funds available upon project approval. Using City Innovate’s challenge-based methodology and enterprise applications the CDT digitized a legacy project approval process and reduced funding time from 12 months to 30 days. It should be noted that the Fund works in concert with the Project Approval Lifecycle (PAL) and Service Stabilization efforts; the trifecta intends to help the state government find the best path to delivering efficient, effective, and equitable services to California residents.

City Innovate has worked hand-in-hand with the CDT to develop and operationalize the multi-stage application process to award TMF funding. Below is an approximation of the TMF process within City Innovate’s Business/Stakeholder Analysis module;

  1. The CDT posts an open call for submissions, where California state departments submit business challenges through an online portal.
  2. After the application period, the CDT and state executives use the backend of the online portal to evaluate project proposals against a readiness assessment.
  3. Departments whose proposals pass the readiness assessment are paired with a Human-Centered Design firm to solidify their problem statements and prepare them for a pitch day.*
  4. On pitch day, departments present their projects to a selection committee composed of Undersecretaries and Chief Deputy Directors in the state. The selection committee uses the evaluation function within the Business/Stakeholder Analysis module.
  5. After pitch day, projects deemed most suitable for TMF funding receive the award.*
*Projects who aren’t fit for the TMF are given feedback and recommendations to complete their project through other funding mechanisms (i.e. PAL, Service Stabilization, referral to Office of Digital Innovation, etc.)

The first round of the TMF launched in November 2021 and after 21 project applications saw 4 projects funded by January of 2022. Read more about round one.