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Delaware Data Innovation Lab


Darren Mahoney, Creator of the Delaware Data Innovation Lab


Delaware Data Innovation Lab



Business Challenge

In 2020, the world was rocked by COVID-19. Beyond the immediate health implications of the pandemic, COVID-19 caused a ripple effect of instability throughout the social fabric of the world. Families and organizations have been forced to make hard choices about their needs – from whether to pay rent to finding food.

Analytics Solution

Every organization has done its part to address the effects of COVID-19, but CompassRed viewed a gap. We believed that many COVID-adjacent challenges – from housing insecurity to economic stability – could be addressed with data. Organizations that focus on solving these challenges lacked the technical expertise to build data solutions but had subject matter expertise. Organizations such as CompassRed had the technical expertise but lacked subject matter expertise.

To solve this problem, a new organization was built that bridged the technical and subject matter expertise divide. In October 2020, CompassRed launched the Delaware Data Innovation Lab (DDIL). Incubated by CompassRed, DDIL focuses on pairing community organizations and institutions that are working on social issues with data scientists, engineers and analysts who can address their challenges using data.

The CompassRed team identified challenges by building partnerships with community organizations, ranging from nonprofits to hospitals and universities. These partnerships allowed for business questions to be co-developed. Five community challenges were identified for development into proof of concepts.


DDIL’s impact is focused on our community, so our key metrics revolve around improving our community. One of those metrics is focused on our ability to affect public policy as measured by our ability to put the work in front of policy makers. All five of the community-focused projects directly touch on this need. Three projects were directly presented to subgroups of the Delaware General Assembly. One project is directly affecting county policy. One project is helping an industry group tell its story to policy makers.