Understanding the evolution and challenges of creating and sustaining digital service teams in the public sector will provide useful context for future directions .

The British government successfully pioneered the use of a national, semi-independent “surge team” to tackle large-scale technology-driven challenges facing it. The U.S. federal government adapted this approach to improve the success of its own operations in 2014, titling its top-level team as the “U.S. Digital Service.”  It then created a small internal software development and service organization, dubbed “18F,” to support both USDS and individual agencies.  And individual agencies are creating their own internal digital service teams, as well.

Dr. Mergel interviews leaders and users of digital service teams in the US and internationally to learn how they operate, and the challenges they faced in creating a private sector-like “start up” culture within government to foster innovation and top-level tech talent.  Her report identifies six challenges, and offers recommendations on actions that both digital service leaders and policy makers can take to ensure the sustainability and scaling of this novel approach in government.

Read the Federal Times article.

Read the testimony Ines Mergel provided to the German Bundestag - June 2017

Read a Government Information Quarterly paper published by Ines Mergel that uses the interview data collected from 18F employees.