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Faculty & Research


Inside the Black Box: Journey Mapping Digital Innovation in Government

Mahroum S. (2018). 
Inside the Black Box: Journey Mapping Digital Innovation in Government.
The digital revolution has changed the world in unprecedented ways. The ability to share information near instantaneously regardless of distance or place has opened up previously unimagined ways of delivering everything from entertainment and education to goods and services. From its inception governments everywhere saw the possibilities of harnessing it to transform service delivery as well (Kreps & Richardson, 2007; Norris & Reddicks, 2013). However, despite concerted investment and effort over two decades, the ensuing innovation journey has not been smooth. With successes alongside embarrassing failures, the implementation of digital technologies in the public sector has come to be resemble a ‘black box’ because governments are now increasingly uncertain about how to do this right. The scale of the challenge is evident in the following observations from the US General Audit Office 2016 analysis of the very public failure of the Obamacare website in 2013 whose cost ballooned from an initial US$91 million to US$1.7 billion, and which crashed within hours of its launch: “delays in decision-making, lack of clarity in project tasks, and the inability of CMS to recognize the magnitude of problems as the project deteriorated… and failing to properly manage its key website development contract” (Levinson, 2016).