Publications

Recent

Pictures of printed copies of Radical How

Radical How

We’ve just published a paper called The Radical How. Kindly commissioned by the UK innovation agency, NESTA, it makes a case for governments radically changing how they work.

Rather than accept the risks of false certainty, the report suggests a radically different approach to how government goes about implementing change. 

It might seem odd calling this 'the Radical How', Because these ideas will already be familiar to our friends and followers. But to many people inside the government bubble, let alone beyond it, a lot of this is both new and a bit scary.

What this report aims to do is persuade more people that it's not scary, and that how things operate right now is in fact far more troubling.

You can read the full report here. We’d love your feedback.

Digital public financial management: An emerging paradigm

Making public finance digital

In collaboration with ODI as part of our joint Digital Public Finance Hub we co-authored two papers exploring challenges with the prevailing approach to digitising public finance.

Digital public financial management: An emerging paradigm describes an alternative approach which more fully embraces internet-era ways of working, and the work that is needed to fully realise this new paradigm.

Making public finance digital discusses how digital public financial management (PFM) as a discipline can usher in a new era of public finance reform in digital, in a way which brings together different specialisms from PFM, digital government and service delivery.

Published in March 2023 as part of the Digital Public Finance Hub.

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Fixing digital funding in government

Written in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, Fixing digital funding in government explores a frequently overlooked cause of poor digital services in the public sector: the way they are funded. Annual budgeting cycles, detailed business cases, and capital-spending policies clash with modern digital delivery, and governments cannot engage effectively in digital transformation with addressing funding reform. This paper identifies seven shifts inc culture, attitude and behaviour that are crucial for reform.

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Digital Transformation at scale: why the strategy is delivery 
(updated 2nd edition)

Our book - authored by the four founders of Public Digital - is a guide to building a digital institution. It explains how a growing band of reformers in businesses and governments around the world have helped their organisations pivot to a new way of working, and what lessons others can learn from their experience.

The updated second edition goes into more detail about which institutions had a more effective digital response to Covid-19, and why. It also talks about some of the topics that were emergent when the first edition was published in 2018, but now loom larger in a digital team’s thoughts, including digital sovereignty, inclusivity and growth, and how to structure the data underpinning the whole edifice.

We’ve also picked out what lessons newer digital teams in government can take from the UK, so they can plan for some of the known unknowns. What happens when ministers change, practitioners move on, and you’re seen as part of furniture rather than the next new thing?

It’s available to buy now direct from the publisher, from Amazon, or Book Depository.

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Digital Transformation at scale: why the strategy is delivery (Japanese translation)

A Japanese translation of the second edition of Public Digital's book, Digital Transformation at Scale can be bought here.

This book for leaders and teams to help them apply the lessons we learned from setting up the Government Digital Service in the UK government.

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Open source in government: creating the conditions for success

Governments globally have sought to digitise their operations and services for many years. Covid-19 has made this an imperative: countries that have been able to serve their citizens remotely have seen the benefits of their digitisation efforts; those further behind have seen the gap more acutely.

We conducted interviews with government decision-makers, technical experts, funders and people delivering digital services to citizens across 4 continents. We synthesised their experiences, and set out an Open Source Capability Model for Governments providing a self-assessment tool, assisting governments to adopt open source practices and calibrate their current policy and technical environment.

The executive summary and the full report are available to download, or you can review and comment on the report on GitHub.

We published this paper in June 2021 with the support of the Omidyar Network. The views in the paper do not necessarily reflect those of the funder.

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A new era of digital leadership

This guide has been written with NHS Providers for board members of all types of NHS trust to support them in the new era of digital leadership required by the pandemic. It outlines how digital issues impact on strategic and operational concerns for executives and non-executives. It explains the issues and trade-offs that leaders should be considering, provides examples of good practice - from the NHS and beyond - of how other organisations have addressed them, and sets out some of the difficult questions that boards will need to address.

A new era of digital leadership was published in July 2020 with NHS Providers.

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Building and enabling digital teams

Published with NHS Providers for board members, this guide explores what a good digital team looks like, how to build one, and where to start in order to support boards who want to build their digital capability.


We look at how boards can enable effective digital teams by establishing governance that supports exceptional performance, and explain how boards can set themselves up to operate at the speed of trust rather than the speed of process.

Building and enabling digital teams was published in November 2020 with NHS Providers.

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Building a digital strategy

Published with NHS Providers for board members, this guide breaks down what to look for in a digital strategy, how to develop one, and how to decide where to start.

We look at how boards can support an effective digital strategy by asking the right questions, knowing the key decisions that will need to be made, and understanding the connections between digital strategy and delivery.

Building a digital strategy was published in March 2021 with NHS Providers.

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Best practice in government data analytics teams (in Spanish)

The digital revolution that governments are experiencing is leading them to consider programs that improve the analysis and use of data to propose more effective and efficient public policies. Although numerous governments recognize the importance of having adequate data infrastructure, it is still not sufficiently reliable. 

Data analysis involves various challenges and implies technical and organizational changes to implement initiatives that facilitate its exploration to improve infrastructure, procedures, and public services. 

This report presents three case studies that show how data analysis teams can be formed within the public sector's organisational structure. It also details a guide to help governments in the region create sustainable, successful data analysis teams capable of delivering public value

Best practice in government data analytics teams (only available in Spanish) was published in August 2019 with the support of IDB.

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How to Achieve and Sustain Government Digital Transformation

Digital government is rapidly gathering momentum as an effective way for nations and regions to increase their administrative efficiency, develop resilience, and deliver simpler, clearer, and better services for their citizens and businesses. 

This report summarises the conditions and context needed for government digital teams to succeed and be sustained across different administrations. The report explores the conditions needed to establish a digital team, examines the ideal environment to make that team successful, and concludes with the conditions required to help that team sustain as an institution across different political administrations.

How to Achieve and Sustain Government Digital Transformation was published in July 2018 with the support of IDB.

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