Digitization in the public sector was necessary before
COVID-19, but now its non-negotiable.
We start with your business outcome—not a technology—to bring
you startup speed at enterprise scale.
How the human-centric nature of design thinking drives
There are quite a few challenges to getting the most out of
data, but AI creates differentiated patient outcomes.
By automating workflows, you create smarter solutions that
help empower teams to achieve more.
Speed your journey to cloud with a hybrid multicloud solution
tailored to your business needs.
Transforming your technology also means changing the culture
of your organization to ensure your talent has the tools for success.
Ready to experience the Garage first-hand? Learn next steps
and meet the Garage experts.
6 min read
In our society built on technology, governments are expected to provide world-class services
while increasing citizen engagement and trust. The public wants government technology solutions to
have the same agility and efficiency seen in the private sector—which means current processes
require digital transformation.
In fact, 75% of government leaders say traditional business models are not sustainable in
the current environment.¹
To meet the public’s expectations, governments aren’t just experimenting with technology. They’ve
begun to transform their core strategy and processes. For example, cloud enables digitization of
the healthcare and life sciences ecosystems. As a result, these areas can create and support new
business models that improve the customer experience. That’s why 78% of healthcare and 85% of life
sciences companies are already operating in a multicloud environment today.²
There are unique challenges to digital transformation programs in the public sector, like
longer-than-average approval cycles, less comfort with ambiguous outcomes, and additional levels
of confidentiality and data security. And that was before the COVID-19 crisis. This pandemic
challenges governments to provide testing, quarantine assistance and contact tracing at scale,
while delivering crucial benefits for citizens suddenly at risk of homelessness and food
insecurity. Healthcare providers are experiencing supply chain issues. They also have a new,
critical need for secure interagency data sharing. It's a once-in-a-generation event, and it’s
never been a more important time to support organizations at all levels in the public sector.
To respond to these emerging challenges, IBM put its full force of industry expertise, problem
solvers and technologists to work with the world’s healthcare workers and first responders. We’ve
stood shoulder to shoulder building apps that run hospital operations and patient tracking, kept
networks running in public safety departments that dispatch ambulances and ensured vaccine
research data models are computing accurately and flowing in a security-rich manner to the cloud.
But we believe that together, we can do more. That’s why IBM has brought a new capability to our
work with government and healthcare clients—IBM Garage™.
The IBM Garage is a comprehensive approach to organizational change that helps accelerate
innovation and transformation. We bring a team of IBM experts with diverse skills sets, such as
designers, architects, developers, data scientists and cybersecurity specialists, who work with
you to quickly create and scale new ideas that can dramatically impact your organization and drive
results. This collaborative approach helps you power digital transformation and culture change
across your organization through new ways of working, leading technologies and multidisciplinary
Working with IBM Garage can help clients realize significant business benefits. A recent study
found that Garage clients experienced:
The Garage helps you accelerate your success by harnessing the latest in AI, hybrid cloud, talent
and accelerators from all parts of IBM. If you need to be more agile or innovative, want to
benefit from being more design and user-research led, or think you could level up your team's
skills through a co-innovation program, this engagement model is your entry to the full breadth of
IBM talent and technology.
Read on to learn more about the IBM Garage approach and our point of view on today's critical
needs in the government and healthcare industries. In each chapter, you'll learn about some key
findings from IBM Garage projects over the last several years, followed by a client story to show
4 min read
The value of the Garage Methodology can be summarized with the phrase: startup speed at
enterprise scale. To help modernize your approach, we combine best practices like design thinking,
agile methodology, DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) with the industry expertise we’ve
developed by working with the world's largest companies and organizations. Working within the
constraints unique to the public sector, we help involve stakeholders early and limit innovation
blockers. As a result, you can modernize how departments operate with intelligent workflows,
allowing teams to be more collaborative, responsive and security-rich.
Our approach starts with your business outcome, not a technology. Using design thinking, we work
with the right people in the physical or virtual room to help align on your opportunity or
challenge, the user or users being addressed, and the hypothesis and the minimum viable product
(MVP) to test. These data-driven Garage teams are dedicated and determined to help you achieve
your goals. The resulting MVPs are not proofs of concept, but rather production pilots in the
hands of real users that help you to test for market and community fit.
From the MVP, we then work with you to iterate and scale. Together, we become agents of change
within your organization by co-creating, co-executing and co-operating to evolve the skills and
mindsets of your teams. The skills and working methods developed as the project builds help create
long-lasting culture change and drive purposeful innovation. During this process, we've seen one
squad turn into dozens, one app into hundreds and multiple siloed departments into an integrated
innovation program that continuously learns and adapts.
IBM Garage brings various IBM experts, such as designers, architects, developers, data scientists
and cybersecurity specialists, to quickly create and scale new ideas that can dramatically impact
your organization and drive results. And, of course, the resulting architecture can include all
the enabling technology needed, such as IBM Cloud®, multicloud, data, machine learning (ML) and
AI, IBM Watson®, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), security, Salesforce and Adobe solutions,
and more. The Garage Methodology helps you power digital transformation and culture change across
your organization through new ways of working, leading technologies and multidisciplinary experts.
5 min read
Whether providing access to everyday services, such as polling place locations, fulfilling
passport requests or providing the critical and life-saving measures in times of disaster,
citizens expect a business-to-consumer (B2C) quality experience when accessing digital public
services from the government.
Some governments have improved website user experience (UX), but few have truly changed the way
citizens interact with them. Not only is your UX important, but your ability to quickly answer
citizens’ questions is crucial. Virtual assistants can provide swift, round-the-clock answers to
common questions and needs. Yet relatively few organizations have implemented them.
COVID-19 impact: The pandemic caused employment instability in many areas of the
world, creating an insatiable need for governmental services and aid. In some states and
countries, applications for services take weeks or remain incomplete.
By leading with human-centered design in every engagement, the IBM Garage puts people at the
center of everything we do. We do this by using Enterprise Design Thinking to help gain a clear
understanding of your users and empathize with them to drive results. As solutions come to life,
we work with you to use empathy mapping, interviewing and research to continuously prototype, test
and validate ideas with real users. By formulating the MVP and hypotheses to prove whether the MVP
provides what your users need, we can test, learn and pivot until we deliver the desired outcome.
With Enterprise Design Thinking, teams can work more efficiently and come to better solutions
faster by staying aligned and keeping people at the center of their work.
The IBM Garage has also developed design language systems for digital experiences that assist
with speed, consistency and usability. The Garage team members that are UX and user interface (UI)
designers have deep expertise creating engaging omnichannel experiences for B2C clients than can
be applied in a public sector context for maximum results.
Nova Scotia and IBM launched Canada’s first public sector Garage program in Halifax in March
2018. The Garage helps the public sector of Nova Scotia deliver services and programs more
efficiently and effectively by leveraging agile development methods and leading technologies.
The Canadian Institute of Health Research estimates that 40,000 cardiac arrests occur every year
in Canada. Almost all of them, up to 85%, happen outside the home. Which means that knowing the
location of the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) can turn almost anyone into a first
responder. IBM Garage and Nova Scotia launched a mobile app to quickly locate nearby AEDs through
IBM now delivers an ongoing Garage program for Nova Scotia, with multiple high-impact,
high-return projects for departments across the provincial government. The group saw a return on
investment of 7 to 10 times the government’s modest investments in individual projects even before
completing the first year.
Read the full case study to learn more
Today’s abundance of data fuels digital transformation. AI unlocks the value of that data, which
helps secure its status as one of the defining technologies of our time. And the public sector is
no exception—data analytics and AI hold largely untapped potential for patient insights and
outcome. Originally, organizations created their information silos out of reasonable concerns,
including security, privacy, regulation and internal competition. But the resulting lack of data
interoperability across organizations was cited by both payers and providers as their biggest
hurdle to innovation, followed by insufficient funding for new projects and the need to maintain
Technology, like AI, has allowed some organizations to break down silos to drive better
performance and foster greater innovation. However, more often than not, the ability to share
information across organizations is still limited. Successful providers and payers focus on ways
to ensure their new systems create reliable, interoperable data that still maintains security and
compliance. The incentives to drive patient outcomes through an ecosystem-wide data exchange are
too great to ignore any longer.
Ultimately, the successful adoption of AI remains challenging without a hybrid multicloud
platform. This platform can unleash the value of data, which is why leading businesses are
investing in multicloud and AI in new ways.
COVID-19 impact: Many government agencies, public institutes and private life
sciences companies are working at an unprecedented pace to create and test vaccines, process virus
testing kits and trace virus cases within communities. These organizations must swiftly and
securely share accurate data with other agencies to facilitate these life-saving initiatives.
Whether the data exists in a hybrid cloud environment or not, analyzing data doesn’t just expose
efficient insights. The true power of data comes from joining data sets together for end-to-end
views that deliver intelligence. That’s why the Garage team infuses AI into your applications,
processes and skills to quickly identify the impact of AI. We use our deep expertise to select,
develop, evaluate and optimize your AI and data science models to make them ready for production.
As a result, you can harness the power of AI to radically improve predictions, automation and
optimization, helping make the right decisions faster and more accurately.
The Garage uses an AI framework and accelerators. These tools were developed by the team for
implementing the workflow and technology platforms required to enable production-grade machine
learning (ML). This framework relies heavily on open source principles and software development
patterns tested during many engagements and across industries. The tools also include use case
templates, standardized AI and ML algorithms, pipelines, opinionated project scaffolding and
As our teams are deeply skilled in data privacy and highly regulated workloads, our solutions are
designed to have security built in. By providing AI at scale, your government or healthcare
organizations can make large strides in a security-rich and agile manner.
Hepatitis C is curable. Many people in Louisiana weren’t aware they had the disease, therefore
they weren’t diagnosed or seeking treatment. Once they’re diagnosed with hepatitis C, they often
face multiple barriers to accessing treatment. The most vulnerable populations face challenges
that aren’t solved by one-size-fits-all technology solutions and require scalable solutions as
nuanced and diverse as the people who seek them.
Through the collaboration and co-creation between the State of Louisiana Department of Health and
IBM Garage, the outlook for a hepatitis C cure is much brighter. With affordable medicine, a
community-based approach and IBM’s expertise in cloud technologies and data integration, a “hep
C-free Louisiana” is closer to becoming a reality.
Read the case study
to learn more
Workflows are how things get done in an organization. Intelligent workflows are predictive,
automated, agile and transparent. By making workflows smarter, you can increase the confidence and
speed in how decisions are made, empower people to do higher-value work and create more meaningful
experiences for citizens and employees.
Automation technologies are developing at a breathtaking pace, meaning leaders have to prioritize
areas to automate and choose between technologies. There are numerous use cases for automation in
the public sector, but here are a few recent Garage project examples:
Because processes are complex and automation technologies are new to most organizations, clients
often don’t know what they can improve and how. The Garage approach provides a holistic and agile
approach to derisking your transformation objectives that can improve business resiliency and
outcomes. Work with us to help you evaluate how your organization is doing business now—the
“as-is” process—and what capabilities we can bring to have a better—or “to-be” process. Together,
we can explore how to improve efficiency, reduce costs and introduce new revenue streams through
By creating and validating a hypothesis through co-creation and co-execution, we’ll identify
focus areas, establish priorities and quickly prove the benefits and outcomes of automation in a
specific focus area. You’ll be provided with the right tools, capabilities, processes and data
sources to digitize and automate your work, creating intelligent workflows and augmenting your
workforce in that area. Along the way, you’ll collaborate with technical experts and thought
leaders from IBM solutions in automation, Watson, blockchain and IoT as solutions are defined,
built and scaled. Then we’ll move right to the next focus area.
With a vision to become a smart hospital, Asan Medical Center (AMC) was seeking to improve
operational efficiency and customer service by employing transformational technologies. AMC
collaborated with IBM Services to automate bed allocation and inpatient reservations through
intelligent automation, using the IBM Garage Methodology. This helped AMC allocate beds up to 20
minutes faster and reduce the workload of hospital staff by three hours per day.
the case study to learn more
7 min read
Your journey to cloud is unique. Governments and healthcare organizations have a mix of
commercial, off-the-shelf, SaaS and homegrown applications on premises and across multiple cloud
environments that need to function as one cohesive infrastructure. You’ve finished the easy
builds, integrations and migrations, but with such a complex IT estate, help modernizing and
moving your mission-critical IT infrastructure with the cloud is key.
In addition, with the accelerated adoption of technology to solve an increasing number of public
sector challenges, the number of threats also grows. CISOs must consider and address concerns like
citizen and patient privacy, digital trust and transparency, regulatory compliance, securing edge
computing devices and many others.
COVID-19 impact: The increased demand for public services has put additional
strain on already aging government IT infrastructure and processes. As employees moved to remote
work, some governments didn’t have robust digital workplace technology in place, such as scaled
VPN infrastructure or cloud-based email and web conferencing.
IBM Garage has helped thousands of clients make decisions about their unique journey to cloud.
Deeply skilled in all aspects of hybrid cloud, our experts use hybrid cloud to help improve your
public and private clouds by offering flexibility and balance. With this strategy, you can
effectively manage speed and security, lower latency and drive higher performance. Every
application and service can be deployed and managed where it makes the most sense.
From modern, cloud-native apps and microservices to traditional, monolithic software and systems,
the IBM Cloud® platform was designed to support the full range of applications across public,
private and hybrid environments. With this platform, you’ll have the infrastructure needed to help
build new applications from scratch or modernize existing applications—or both.
Open platform. Build on Kubernetes container infrastructure for public and
private cloud once, and place applications and workloads wherever they run best.
Integration solutions. Use cloud tools, such as messaging, gateways and
application programming interface (API) management, to bring together new and existing
applications and workloads.
DevOps. Accelerate the development and implementation of hybrid applications
with synchronous deployment of components on public and private cloud.
With the IBM Garage, you can accelerate the move of your IT infrastructure and applications to
multicloud. We’ll work with you to incorporate intelligent insights, automation and integration
within your cloud provider ecosystems. Using AI and machine learning techniques, our experts can
help you significantly reduce the time and effort needed to process new sources of information,
deriving insights for your cloud transformation roadmaps as you go.
We start by analyzing your organization’s current cloud capabilities with our Cloud Advisory Tool
to inform the enduring business and technology roadmap we’ll custom-build for you. With this
information, we can automate parts of your move to cloud by using one-click migrations for known
patterns. This approach also helps reduce errors from manual migration-related activities.
We understand that organizations are moving their manual and reactive security programs to a more
automated and proactive approach, so every Garage solution is designed to have security built in.
Through IBM Garage, you can also explore key use cases like threat management, cloud security,
data security, identity and access management, and zero trust to get you closer to your security
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), a large health insurer, sought a modern,
cloud-based technology platform to better handle transaction spikes as the company grows.
Working with the IBM Garage, BCBSMA chose to modernize and test mission-critical apps on IBM
Cloud Pak™ for Applications on Red Hat OpenShift software. The scalable, containerized
infrastructure incorporates new technologies while retaining—and evolving—existing IT investments.
Through co-innovation and applying Garage Methodology, the BCBSMA team saw results in just 4
weeks and learned new ways of working.
Read the blog to learn more
Government agencies have long recognized the need to recruit and retain talent in order to keep
pace with the requirements of citizens and digitally transform their organizations. To attract
talent from younger generations and modernize existing teams, your organization will look at
implementing agile working practices, design thinking and new ways of working to create better
solutions, improve productivity and increase employee engagement.
You also may need help modernizing your organizational constructs—shifting from silos to squads,
from waterfall to agile—in order to become nimbler and more focused on outcomes.
COVID-19 impact: Agile ceremonies and facilitated design thinking sessions are
often thought of as in-person experiences. With everyone working remotely, how can you apply agile
methodology and design thinking virtually?
At the core, adopting new ways of working is a cultural movement. This movement is all about
people and their willingness to adapt to new practices. An organization might adopt the best
automated tools available, but without the cultural drive to understand the new processes needed
to use the tools, adoption is unlikely. A lack of adoption limits return on investment, which is
why building a culture is at the center of adopting the Garage Methodology.
The IBM Garage co-innovation approach means that your team works alongside ours to provide a more
comprehensive talent and culture plan for your team. As part of the process, your team learns the
practices of the Garage Methodology, which consists of skills like design thinking, agile
methodology, DevSecOps, SRE, test-driven development, continuous integration continuous delivery
(CI/CD) and more. From design experiences such as workshops and user research, to agile ceremonies
like standups and retrospectives, you'll learn to apply new ways of working within the context of
your organization’s needs. You’ll also be able to take advantage of learning courses and badges
that support the hands-on experience.
Garage projects have always had elements of remote work. While we are known for our co-located
squads and working side by side with our clients, our tested approach to virtual collaboration
made the switch to remote work during the pandemic seamless. In fact, many of our clients told us
the Garage teams (both IBM and their own teams) were the only groups able to make an effortless
switch to fully remote. That’s because the Garage team implements agile practices and digital
tools that help make remote work simple. You can harness our enhanced guidance on remote work,
including delivering workshops, providing pair programming and conducting user research in remote
working environments to bring remote working best practices to your team. There’s even a special
type of workshop called Emerge Smarter that the Garage team offers to help you plan for working
smarter and safer during COVID-19.
A central public sector organization that services up to 140 federal departments and agencies
approached IBM for help adopting new ways of working. The objective was to infuse innovation
methods and skills that streamline end to end processes and accelerate project delivery.
IBM completed an initial foundation phase focused on assessing the organization on five
dimensions of Garage readiness. This phase ensured a common understanding and mitigation of
potential roadblocks to maximize value and adoption of the Garage Methodology. Together, we
created a dynamic operating model, training blueprint, prioritization model and governance that
ensures MVPs consistently target strategic priorities across multiple stakeholders. In parallel,
the team jointly completed a first MVP, putting their understanding of the Garage Methodology into
practice as well as demonstrating immediate value to stakeholders through a highly rewarding
The Garage operating model was successfully integrated into the organization. An empowered Garage
leadership team, with decision-making authority and value accountability, is completing four
projects across three departments. As a result of the team’s ability to simplify end-to-end
processes and speed project delivery, their pipeline is broadening and annual capacity is
dramatically increasing. The group is building organization-wide momentum in their pursuit of an
innovative and agile culture.
Get started with a two-hour virtual framing session at no charge. We'll pair your team with IBM
Garage experts and use design thinking and online collaboration tools to identify, prioritize and
reframe your challenges into opportunities. You’ll get clarity on your critical needs and capture
the opportunity with the most potential impact.
The IBM Garage brings multidisciplinary experts from around the globe to work on some of the
world's toughest problems and biggest opportunities. Meet some of the experts who routinely work
with public sector clients and who contributed to this piece.
IBM Garage Lead for Public Sector UK and IBM Garage Lead for NHS Digital
Emily is a strong advocate of the Garage approach and moved over to the public sector to apply
her learnings from working on the BP account for five years. She has sold and led two NHS Digital
Garages and supports UK-based clients such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (DEFRA), Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Defense (MOD) in
applying the Garage approach into current programs and new proposals of work. She is passionate
about digital transformation and bringing the best of innovation to her clients.
Ottawa, On, Canada
IBM Garage Lead for Public Sector
Pascale has deep expertise in leading complex innovation and cognitive programs, from
establishing dynamic operating models for Garage to managing flexible capacity workstreams.
IBM iX Studio Senior Business Development Manager for Public Sector
For nearly ten years Julius has worked with heart and soul on the digital transformation of the
public sector. He is passionate about establishing new ways of working for his clients, and always
has in mind that every small step forward in the public sector has the potential to change the
lives of hundreds of people for better.
Province of Nova Scotia, Canada
IBM Innovation Garage Lead – Public Sector for Province of Nova Scotia
A strong advocate in partnering with clients in the public sector, Thozamile helps clients
strategically choose the best digital option that makes sense for their user base, is scalable and
provides long-term benefits. He is passionate about prioritizing digital initiatives for
organizations and setting them up for success through innovation, collaboration and
Head of IBM Garage for Defense
In close collaboration with clients, Charlott loves to leverage all relevant aspects that digital
transformation brings along. In the complex environment of defense requirements, she manages the
IBM Garage in Bonn.
UKI Healthcare Garage Lead
Jon has a passion for working with innovative technology, especially delivering AI and advanced
analytics solutions. He is a believer in user experience design and enjoys combining this process
with the benefits of data and analytics solutions.
San Francisco, CA, USA
IBM Garage, Global Leader, iX
Mathew is a Global Leader in IBM Garage responsible for shaping Garage engagements to ensure
impact to business. By sitting across client Garages, he brings lessons learned back to
continually improve how IBM engages with their clients. Mathew joined IBM in 2017 after IBM
acquired his startup, where he was one of four founders. Prior to that, Mathew worked in startup
communities for almost a decade, with dedication to creating high-performance innovation teams
that stemmed from human-centered design principles.