CalData Merging with the Office of Digital Innovation

Published On: May 20, 2022

CalData and the Office of Digital Innovation are merging to form the Office of Data and Innovation (ODI), pending legislative approval. 

The merger was revealed in the May revision to the 2022-2023 California Budget, which includes a $4.8 million ongoing General Fund and a $20 million one-time fund to consolidate CalData and the Office of Digital Innovation into one standalone department under GovOps.

The Office of Data Innovation will also include the recently-proposed Government Excellence and Transformation Center, which was intended to aid agencies in IT pilot projects.

“The Office of Data and Innovation will provide statewide guidance and operational support to state departments, including establishing a CalAcademy Training Program, developing user research and innovation services for departmental use, and coordinating California’s data strategy across state government,” reads the Budget Summary. 

According to a blog post from California’s Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro, ODI’s key focus includes working with departments to adopt modern data practices, supporting a data-driven “culture change” within state government, and streamlining data access across all departments.

Bonaguro writes that “Having these centers under one roof will supercharge our efforts to modernize practices across the state. It allows for deep expertise, while reducing collaboration barriers and saving money.”

As mentioned in both the revised budget and Bonaguro’s blog post, ODI will establish a new curriculum (via a CalAcademy training program) that aims to “ train and update our workforce’s skills in modern practices in innovation and data.”   

In her post, Bonagura refers to three priorities: 

  • championing human-centered design,
  • empowering use of data and evidence, and
  • demonstrating modern and agile use of technology and prototyping.

The data side of ODI has been split into three teams. The data programs and policy team will streamline access to data and define policies for ethical data use. The advanced analytics and evaluation team will work towards adopting advanced analytics that improve state services and operations. Finally, the data services and engineering team will create a modern data infrastructure stack and services.

Bonaguro notes that ODI will be hiring in all of these teams, pending legislative approval. 


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