Re‑Imagining Digital Communications at a Large Federal Agency: A Case Study


  • Mark Weber
  • Thomas E. Backer
  • William Trefzger


Systems change; Diffusion of innovations; Organizational transformation; Business model; Engagement; Stakeholder involvement; Technical assistance and support


A large US government agency undertook a multi‑year systems change effort to re‑imagine its digital communications activities, which are led by communications staff in its numerous sub‑agencies and offices, along with a central coordinating office within this agency. The systems change strategy used draws from the literature on systems change in the private and government sectors, from two previous systems change efforts within the agency, and from input provided by actively engaging and listening to staff at all levels of the agency. The systems change effort resulted in a business model for the coordinating office to use in advancing the agency’s digital activities. It provides a framework for implementing activities more quickly ‑ encouraging experimentation and emerging best practices. A significant result of the systems change effort to date is transformation of the agency’s main website. At the beginning of this process, fewer than 20 percent of users were finding what they were looking for on the site. Currently over 80 percent of users consistently say they found or partially found what they were looking for. Page load times also improved. The coordinating digital communications office also has received a significant budget increase since these improvements took place. Despite limitations on generalizability from this case study, it may be useful for other government agencies when designing similar systems change activities



1 Apr 2019