Research + Curriculum

“You Have One Hundred Days”: Accelerating Government Performance in the UAE

By Jorrit de Jong and Fernando Monge

In the fall of 2016, the state government of the United Arab Emirates decided to take a new approach to spur floundering projects toward faster results.

Frustrated with slow progress on key issues like public health and traffic safety, the state launched a new program to accelerate change and enhance performance across government agencies. The innovative program, called Government Accelerators, ran 100-day challenges—intense periods of action where “acceleration” teams of frontline staff worked across agency boundaries to tackle pressing problems. This case illustrates how three teams were chosen to participate in the program, and how, in the 100-day time frame, they worked toward clear and ambitious goals that would impact citizens’ lives.

The case aims to raise discussion about different types of public sector innovation, to explain the approach and methodology of the Government Accelerators, and to analyze the conditions under which a similar tool might work in other cities. An accompanying teaching note includes theory and conceptual frameworks to lead classroom discussion on the case.

Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

Learning objectives:

Examine, compare, and contrast methods to promote and sustain innovation and continuous improvement in government.

Identify the conditions required to launch and make a Government Accelerators program thrive.

Discuss the pros and cons of using 100-day challenges for public sector innovation.

Identify the drivers of success for teams participating in 100-day challenges and the lessons learned by the Government Accelerators team from these experiences.

Cases were traditionally designed primarily for professors and practiced case teachers. This case, however, is accompanied both by a conventional academic teaching note and by a “conversation note,” that enables a much wider range of people working in—and with—cities to quickly spur insightful discussions and engage in illuminating conversations with their colleagues.

Watch the case epilogue here.