Gartner Blog Network


Crowd-designing Recovery.gov: Transparency, Innovation or Just Too Big A Problem?

by Andrea Di Maio  |  April 23, 2009  |  9 Comments

Starting on April 27th, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board and the OMB in partnership with the National Academy of Public Administration will run a national online dialogue to engage leading information technology (IT) vendors, thinkers, and consumers in answering the following question:

What ideas, tools, and approaches can make Recovery.gov a place where all citizens can transparently monitor the expenditure and use of recovery funds?

For one week, participants from across the IT community will be able to recommend, discuss, and vote on the best ideas, tools, and approaches.

This approach has been used already by the Obama administration, although for less technical issues such as arranging questions for the President. Other jurisdictions have been doing similar things to ask constituents how to use recovery money (see my earlier post about Virginia, which is where the new CTO comes from).

Whereas the approach of engaging IT vendors and others in finding technical solutions is very attractive, it is less clear how a discussion about architectures and products cutting across a variety of areas (from web design to data management, from visualization to analytics) can be fruitfully conducted in such a short period of time.

Of course this is just an initial phase to gather input from a larger community, and the most promising ideas will be used as input for starting the actual design. In any case, it certainly needs to be orchestrated in such a way that allows new, simple ideas to pop up and not be obfuscated by the complexity of the overall architectural discussion.

Therefore it would be ideal to have a very high level strawman architecture that allows participants to focus on different elements and make idea comparison and voting more effective.

Another significant challenge will be how to turn whichever best idea will emerge into a system that can be procured rapidly enough. Since time is the essence, I wonder whether this will force the use of inexpensive consumer and open source tools as well as government technical staff to get a working prototype soon enough.

Additional Resources

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: e-government  web-20-in-government  

Tags: arra  crowdsourcing  obama  recoverygov  us-cto  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Crowd-designing Recovery.gov: Transparency, Innovation or Just Too Big A Problem?


  1. […] indicated in a previous post, ideas about how to develop recovery.gov (the web site reporting about how the ARRA money is being […]

  2. […] I will explore this further in Gartner research, but let me pick one example: crowdsourcing, like what we have seen with AppsForDemocracy, AppsForAmerica or Recovery.gov. […]

  3. […] previous attempts at crowdsourcing, like the one for Recovery.gov (see my earlier post), this one seems more focused on gathering comments on specific solutions rather then unstructured […]

  4. […] I will explore this further in Gartner research, but let me pick one example: crowdsourcing, like what we have seen with AppsForDemocracy, AppsForAmerica or Recovery.gov. […]

  5. […] I will explore this further in Gartner research, but let me pick one example: crowdsourcing, like what we have seen with AppsForDemocracy, AppsForAmerica or Recovery.gov. […]

  6. […] (of information) that threatens the status quo? What happens when a government organization starts crowdsourcing the design of a web site? What happens when “we, the people” become software developers? What happens when the case for […]

  7. […] whether the Alliant contract vehicle is the most appropriate for something that initially started under the aegis of crowdsourcing and is likely to be under intense public scrutiny over the next several […]

  8. […] online dialogue will be open only until January 15th and, like previous similar initiatives (e.g. Recovery.gov or Regulations.gov), is a step towards crowdsourcing requirements analysis and […]

  9. […] online dialogue will be open only until January 15th and, like previous similar initiatives (e.g. Recovery.gov or Regulations.gov), is a step towards crowdsourcing requirements analysis and […]



Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.