Case #2106.0

UK Government Digital Service: Moving Beyond a Website

Publication Date: August 22, 2017
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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

Case Authors:
David Eaves and Daniel Goldberg
Faculty Lead:
David Eaves
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United Kingdom
Funding Source:
Partial funding provided by the Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research