LISTEN: CHHS Innovation Director Chaeny Emanavin on putting open source to work for California

After the launch of Code California, speakers from the December 2018 event are returning for a more in-depth conversation about open source and open government.

AGL and Code California hosted Chaeny Emanavin, Director of the Office of Innovation within the California Health and Human Services Agency, and Angie Quirarte, Assistant Secretary for Digital Engagement at California Government Operations Agency, for a town hall-style talk with audience questions.

Listen Now



  • GovOps Assistant Secretary Angie Quirarte explains Code California and the state’s commitment to a collaborative tech ecosystem (1:00)
  • Chaeny Emanavin on his unusual path into public service and how to bring learnings from the federal space into state government (6:44)
  • Bringing methodologies of human centered design and journey mapping into state service (12:35)
  • Extending government’s ability for impact by creating an open source conduit for people to use public data for good (14:15)
  • The two main goals of the California Office of Innovation (15:15)
  • How “product” is different from “project” — and the common mistake government makes in distinguishing the two (18:15)
  • How “6-week assignments” at the Office of Innovation help employees across departments solve specific problems using human centered design, product management, design thinking, and humanware (20:00)
  • How to pinpoint redundancies and pay attention to the “human aspects” before you start to build code and products (24:25)
  • What the Office of Innovation is doing to build knowledge sharing and community around open source and government collaboration efforts (32:00)
  • Don’t just train people in government modernization skills — give them a chance to practice them (39:30)
  • What vendors should know if they want to work with the state of California (43:00)
  • Chaeny’s career advice to aspiring government innovators (46:00)


Listen to the interview with Chaeny:

“Let’s not build code for inefficient processes. Let’s make a habit of good problem definition and product management, THEN build technology to support the real needs we discover.”

– Chaeny Emanavin

2019-03-01T08:27:45-08:00 February 28th, 2019|Categories: Agile government, AGL Town Hall, Audio, Free and Open Source, Local Government|Tags: , , |

About the Author:

AGL served the government innovation community from 2014 - 2020. It has now broadened its mission and community to form a new organization, Technologists for the Public Good. Learn more and get involved at

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