District of Columbia: Harnessing the Power of Information and Communication Technology to Enable Good Governance

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : ITSY061 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


IT Administration/ e-governance/ Public sector innovation
Case Length : 22 Pages
Period : 2007-2008
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : District of Columbia
Industry : Public Sector
Countries : USA


This case is about the technology strategies and initiatives undertaken by the government of District of Columbia (DC) to enable good governance. As e-governance provides greater efficiency, accuracy, and reliability in services, the DC government planned to incorporate technology in every aspect of its operations. The aim of the district's government was to democratize data and provide an open, participatory government wherein citizens could access government data and hold the government accountable for its operations. Established in 1999, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) was responsible for assessing new and emerging technologies to determine their potential application to district programs and services.

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In 2007, Adrian M. Fenty (Fenty) became the Mayor of DC. Fenty's aim was to redesign the DC municipal administration by making it more receptive to citizen's needs. He wanted to simplify government services that usually involve complex procedures and multiple agencies. In May 2007, Fenty appointed Vivek Kundra (Kundra) as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of DC. Kundra's responsibility was to decide on the technology investments and how these investments could be leveraged to benefit the citizens. The case discusses the various IT initiatives implemented under the leadership of Kundra in government agencies, police department, district school system, libraries and health department.

The case discusses the role played by Kundra in laying the foundation for digital democracy and creating a "Digital Public Square", where citizens were able to 'Discover, Participate and Connect' with the government. The case also discusses the criticism faced by the government from some bureaucrats who resisted change as they were not happy with the idea of making government data public. The case concludes with a brief description of the technological investments planned by the DC government in the future and the further challenges faced by it.


Understand the importance of an e-governance system and how information and communication technology can be used to enable good governance.

Examine the strategic role of Chief Technology Officer and the various issues and challenges faced by him/her.

Analyze the technological initiatives taken by the government of District of Columbia and their results.

Understand the issues and challenges faced by the government in democratizing data and incorporating technology in its operations.

Understand how innovation can be fostered in public sector/governmental organizations and the various challenges in doing so.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Change in Leadership 5
Digital Democracy 5
Initiatives taken by DC Government 6
The Apps for Democracy Contest 10
Results 11
Criticism 12
Outlook 13
Exhibits 14


Information Technology, Digital Democracy, e-governance, Digital Public Square, OCTO, Stock Market Model, Data catalogs, DC Web portal, Data feeds, Apps for Democracy, DC-Net, Citywide Data Warehouse, CapStat Website, Vivek Kundra, DC Public Schools (DCPS), Transparency, DCpedia, Technological initiatives, Cloud Computing

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