Data is the New Protein: How the Commonwealth of Virginia Built Digital Resilience Muscle and Rebounded from Opioid and COVID Shocks

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Publication History

Received: November 30, 2020
Revised: June 30, 2021; January 15, 2022; May 11, 2022; June 15, 2022
Accepted: June 29, 2022
Published Online as Articles in Advance: February 28. 2023
Published in Issue: March 1, 2023


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During shocks, residents and businesses rely upon the government to ensure health, safety, and the continuity of services. The government’s ability to respond depends upon how well it utilizes its data resources and builds digital resilience. Yet governments often fail to integrate data from different agencies to respond effectively to shocks. We conceptualize digital resilience as a dynamic capability (DC). Although the DC framework provides a theoretical basis, it is unclear what actions managers can take to build DC. Through process tracing, we examine how the Commonwealth of Virginia (COVA) built DCs and rebounded from two shocks—the opioid crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. COVA managers leveraged statewide data assets, built routines to disseminate data, and reconfigured operational capabilities to build three DCs—relationship building, intelligence creation, and value extraction. Data functioned as the “protein” to build the digital resilience “muscle.” We found that the relationship building DC leveraged the operational capabilities of data management, integration, and governance structure to foster data sharing, the intelligence creation DC leveraged analytics, and the value extraction DC converted analytics into cost savings, revenue generation, and new services. Whereas COVA built robust digital resilience by facilitating data sharing, the agencies exploited data assets to develop scalable solutions.

Additional Details
Author Monica Chiarini Tremblay, Rajiv Kohli, and Carlos Rivero
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 1
Keywords Resilience, digital, anticipate and rebound, learning, data sharing, government
Page Numbers 423-450
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