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Data and Innovation Fund

A person in an office showing their screen to a team of people.

The Office of Data and Innovation’s (ODI) mission is to help state government deliver better services to the people of California. The Data and Innovation Services Revolving Fund (DIF) is one way we improve state services. 

The DIF funds collaboration between your department and ODI. It helps teams like yours identify, understand, and solve business problems. 

We are not currently accepting applications for DIF. We plan to accept applications in fall 2023.

How the DIF helps 

The DIF funds collaborative projects that help ODI and state agencies, departments, and offices:

  • Discover the “why” and root causes of the problem you are solving for
  • Improve the service experience you offer
  • Better understand your stakeholders and what they need
  • Use data science, analytics, and infrastructure to improve your services and reporting

The DIF can support you whether you have a signed contract or aren’t sure where to get started. The DIF includes 6 primary services.

Innovation sprints

An innovation sprint identifies, understands, and reveals ways to solve an organizational or strategic problem. This time-bound process involves deep-dive research into understanding the challenge and the needs of your stakeholders. We then design human-centered solutions that put people first. Sprints can also focus on prototyping solutions. This tests and pilots ideas in a way that ensures a more successful implementation.

Innovation sprints can help you:

  • Understand the causes of a complex problem
  • Identify or validate strategies and approaches to addressing a problem
  • Test early ideas to understand what works and mitigate risks before implementation

Business process reengineering

We partner with you to reshape business or organizational processes to improve how you deliver on your department’s mission. We use human-centered research and design methods to find ways to reduce administrative burden. This can flow into buying technology solutions (like software) that make your work easier. We also help make sure you have the staff capacity to manage a new process through training and bridge staffing solutions until permanent team members can take over. 

Business process reengineering can help you:

  • Automate and digitize workflows more effectively
  • Save staff time and reallocate capacity toward more pressing needs
  • Increase efficiency for staff while improving the experience for customers

Content and user experience design

Reach Californians where they are with plain language and intuitive design so they can get things done more easily and improve their experience with your department. ODI’s experienced designers start with reviewing your service. They then apply best practices in design to create a roadmap for service improvement. This can include prototyping and implementing redesigned services. We finish with design training that helps your staff maintain service quality after the project ends.

Content and user experience design can help you:

  • Make your public-facing website and documents clearer, more actionable, and more equitable
  • Make your content easier to translate into other languages
  • Build more awareness of your services and make them more accessible

Data science accelerator

The data science accelerator uses advanced analytics and statistics to make your work easier. We work with you to research a problem and find a data-based way to improve your services. We’ll help you implement a change based on what we learn.

The data science accelerator can help you:

  • Identify targets in large populations (think of it as finding a needle in a haystack)
  • Prioritize your backlog
  • Flag things early to help you be proactive
  • Find the best way to A/B test
  • Optimize your resource distribution

Learn about how the data science accelerator solved many challenges in the City of San Francisco.

Analytics accelerator

The analytics accelerator is a holistic approach to help your department or program move from manual, high effort reporting to streamlined and automated reporting.  It aims to both free up analyst’s time and provide them with new skills to tackle new analytic challenges. 

The analytics accelerator can help you:

  • Automate existing reports
  • Create user-friendly reports for leadership and management
  • Learn new analytics skills to better use your data

Learn about how CalHR recently worked with the analytics accelerator to streamline their reporting and save staff time.

Modern data stack accelerator

The modern data stack accelerator improves the state’s data infrastructure to use data more efficiently. We use cloud-based tools to solve problems across systems or programs.

The data stack accelerator can help you:

  • Try out modern data tools with training to help you use them
  • Develop or combine data that’s tested, trustworthy, and up-to-date
  • Streamline data sharing

Learn about how the City of San Francisco used their modern data stack to track personal protective equipment through data integration and quality monitoring.

Good DIF candidates  


A good DIF partner is ready to:

  • Use research and data to confirm the problem before determining the solution
  • Engage with and learn from Californians and stakeholders
  • Collaborate  on a multi-week discovery sprint
  • Consider root problems and/or solutions that may not have been on your radar
  • Imagine and experiment with new ways to solve old problems

They may understand the problem and its root causes, but they aren’t sure what the solution might be. They are excited to use data to better understand the problem and inform solutions. 


A good DIF project will have a significant impact. It may help Californians live healthier, safer, more secure lives. Or it may help state staff do their jobs more effectively, with less stress and better outcomes. And it has the support of executive leadership. 


A good DIF outcome has a meaningful impact on the people we serve. 

How the DIF process works 

DIF submissions will be accepted periodically. A DIF Advisory Committee will review submissions and make recommendations. This intake process is similar to CDT’s Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) process. 

In the review, the committee will focus on the problem statement. We will also gauge department readiness, and the project’s impact and feasibility. The short application will give us the information needed to make these assessments.

Project selection is made by the DIF Selection Committee. Its members are Undersecretaries and Chief Deputy Directors.

Ask a question

We’re happy to answer questions about the DIF.