The Digital Leaders program strives to train a group of agents of change within the government who will promote digital innovation in the public sphere and use technology to improve processes and interfaces with citizens. The program is a partnership between the government national initiative "Digital Israel", the Government ICT Authority, the Civil Service Commission, and the JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance. It aims to promote the vision of the "Digital Israel" national initiative, which was launched by the government in 2013.
39 senior managers participated in the first cycle of the program (June 2015 to February 2016). Most were from government ministries, but there was some representation to local authorities and civil society organizations. The program included an educational phase, a phase in which projects were developed in small groups, and a seminar at Harvard University. Since the end of the program, the leaders' network has met four times.
MJB was commissioned to conduct a follow-up study of the program, in which a self-report questionnaire was distributed to all program graduates about nine months after the end of the program (November 2016) and in-depth interviews were conducted with 7 of them. 29 graduates completed the questionnaire (74% response rate). A self-report questionnaire had also been distributed to the participants at the end of the program, as part of the first stage of the study .
Almost a year after the program ended, the graduates remain motivated and are still perceiving themselves as digital leaders. They continue to promote digital projects and processes within their areas of responsibility and report that participation in the program contributed to them. There was also an increase in their involvement in digital processes in their ministry or organization more broadly.
About half of the projects that began during the program are now in the advanced stages of implementation, but only a few graduates are currently involved in promoting them. The findings indicate a lack of satisfaction with the project work. Graduates report that the projects, as currently implemented, did not serve as an effective way to practically experiment with applying what they had learned in the program.
The professional contacts created among the program participants were maintained after the program ended, and they have contributed to their work. When thinking about continued activity of the leaders' network, the graduates expressed interest in strengthening the ties among themselves, continued peer learning, and learning about new digital developments.
The findings have been discussed with the program steering committee and are serving as a key input in shaping the next cycle, which is currently in progress.
The study was commissioned and funded by "Digital Israel", the Government ICT Authority, the Civil Service Commission, and the JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance.
Interim findings of the evaluation