Skip to content


CalInnovate’s focused project teams solve big problems. We use human-centered design and technology to improve services for everyone.

Start with problems, not solutions

We are changing the way government traditionally works.

State departments tackle complex problems that don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. While technology can improve many things, we do not assume it can do everything.

CalInnovate breaks problems down into small, manageable pieces. We test and iterate on our ideas, building on what works. We practice a continuous approach to improvement.

We engage directly with Californians. We prototype and test with real people to make sure our ideas work. Only then do we commit to a solution. This approach:

  • Reduces risk for taxpayers
  • Lets us hear what does and does not work
  • Increases the chance a service will help the people who use it
  • Leads to services that can change with the needs of Californians

Experiment, learn, and iterate

We embrace experimentation in our work. CalInnovate explores how best practices in the private sector can improve state services. We try new things if we think they can help Californians.

We continuously question and test our work. We use data to measure how well prototypes works. Our insights guide more changes, which continues the cycle of improvement.

CalInnovate is a hybrid team. Our geographic diversity helps us see problems from different angles. This helps us find solutions that work for everyone, no matter where they live.

Work in the open

Our engineers and designers make our code available publicly through GitHub. Sharing our work invites conversation with other teams and the public. (Sometimes residents even suggest ways to make things better!) Being open builds confidence and trust in state government as a whole.

We also believe it’s essential to tell the story of our work–the why, what, and how. We share our journey to inspire other teams solving similar problems.

Create sustainable solutions

Building up others is part of who CalInnovate is. We want our partners to be confident carrying projects forward on their own. We ensure our department partners can scale and iterate on the work we’ve done together. This includes training them on best practices and how to continually improve.

CalInnovate also works with departments who want to buy tools and services. We put Californians first in the procurement process.

We’re also modeling how to build modern digital teams at the state. CalInnovate pilots new ways of hiring to help people join the public sector. We focus on:

  • Design
  • Engineering
  • User research
  • Data and analytics

Our values

We’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of Californians. These are the values that guide us in everything we do.

Put the needs of Californians first

The most important part of our job is to listen to Californians and understand what they need. When we do this, we make their experiences and concerns central to our service design process.


Understanding Californians’ problems is not enough. Empathy helps us remember that what we do affects people’s lives. We never assume that we know what people need.


Innovation happens when you design for people with the greatest need. CalInnovate looks for places to improve historically-underserved communities’ access to state services.

Culture of learning

Innovation doesn’t happen only once. It’s a cycle that always challenges us to do better. We experiment with new techniques and tools to find ways to better help Californians.

Measure with data

What we can measure, we can improve. We ground our work in data to guide our decisions and know if we’re making a difference.