Teaching Case - UK Government Digital Service: Moving Beyond a Website

UK Government Digital Service: Moving Beyond a Website


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  • Product Description

    In 2011, the UK founded a new government agency known as the "Government Digital Service" (or GDS). Facing significant budget challenges, several high profile IT failures, and growing demands to "modernize" government services, the government set a mission for GDS to champion a "digital culture" in government, ideally unleashing a wave of both cost savings and innovations. By 2012, GDS had identified billions of pounds of potential savings, centralized the government’s web presence into a single domain (called GOV.UK), and received wide acclaim from technology commentators. However, the leaders of GDS felt there was significantly more work to be done--not only modernizing government services, but also convincing civil service to focus more on implementation, user needs, and digital services. This case provides an overview of GDS's work up to 2012, and considers the strategy and change management questions facing the agency as it seeks to expand.

    Learning Objective:
    Students gain an in-depth understanding of the advantages and pitfalls of trying to bring about large-scale digital transitions inside government. Students analyze GDS’ early strategic errors by applying tools such as Theory of Change and Stakeholder Analysis. Students learn the importance of how bringing about digital transitions requires both a deep understanding of the stakeholder landscape as well as the ability to learn from mistakes and iterate constantly (a la agile).

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: August 22, 2017
    HKS Case Number: 2106.0
    Case Authors: David Eaves and Daniel Goldberg
    Faculty Lead: David Eaves
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 22
    Setting: United Kingdom
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Partial funding provided by the Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research
    _year: 2017-2018
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: Europe
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