Delaware’s Moonshot to Innovation

May 31, 2021

Delaware Data Innovation Lab to Address Real-World Impact of COVID-19

Innovation is nothing new to Delaware. But the Delaware Data Innovation Lab is new — brand new — and in just its first few weeks, a team of 22 “labsters” are already hard at work in the recently renovated CSC Station in Wilmington helping community partners use data analytics, artificial intelligence and augmented reality to “see” data and uncover solutions that will help Delaware, and the rest of the world, address COVID-19 and other pressing problems.

Launch of Delaware Data Innovation Lab

The Delaware Data Innovation Lab, or DDIL, was created in September through a $2M CARES Act Innovation grant from New Castle County to CompassRed, a Delaware-based data analytics and artificial intelligence company. Through DDIL, CompassRed will partner with universities, government, corporations and health care organizations to fast-forward research ideas out of the lab and into the marketplace.

Patrick Callahan, co-founder of CompassRed and the Delaware Data Innovation Lab, said County leaders wanted to use the funding to foster innovation and attract talent to the region. They also envisioned using technology to grow something with a long-term impact.

“When something as shocking as coronavirus shakes the world, there are opportunities that we could never have had before,” said Callahan. “With the support of New Castle County, our team went to work figuring out how to take advantage of this moment and tackle the issues that come from COVID.”

A board member for Delaware Prosperity Partnership, Callahan describes DDIL as a “collaborative, not competitive” nonprofit organization that uses objective data to combat COVID-19 and prepare for other issues we’ll face as a community and planet.

DDIL is already helping partners use data to pivot resources as they address such COVID-19 challenges as a significant drop in applications for federal financial aid by underserved, low-income students or helping the hospitality industry make customers feel safer using their services during a pandemic. The team is also using data to study home insecurity caused by the threat of housing evictions, and ways to predict future outbreaks, and plan for testing and vaccination sites based on wastewater testing.

“Crises create unique opportunities that can change the course of history,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. The Delaware Data Innovation Lab redirects thinking in both the private and public sectors for the long-term, said Meyer, and turns Delaware into a hub of data innovation and analytical thinking for the country and for the world.

“We’re going to put your work to use here in Delaware and learn from it to make better policy,” the County Executive told the DDIL labsters. “The way we’ll get out of COVID-19 is through innovation.”

Anne Clauss, who heads Strategy & Operations for DDIL, has already discovered that things happen faster here in Delaware than anywhere else in the world.

“There is no place like Delaware to test ideas,” said Clauss. “Delaware is where innovation gets real, and that’s why we’re here.”

This article was originally posted on the Delaware Prosperity Partnership website at: