The Rise of and the Virtuous Cycle of Transparency Innovation


In the short 30 days since the President signed the Recovery Act (aka Stimulus Bill) into law and launched:

  • 26 of 28 federal agencies currently handling stimulus dollars have launched websites at identical “/recovery” URLs (example:
  • 83 identically formatted .xls weekly reports were filed by agencies and are downloadable by reporting agency (generally 3 per agency)
  • 42 states have launched their own recovery-related web sites with several adopting the “/recovery” meme (for example:
  • 3,900 hits-per-second loads have been reported for

These early stats suggest our federal government is headed for the Web 2.0 big leagues in tracking stimulus dollars. Even better, they suggest everyone else is fielding franchise teams and swinging for the fences. No doubt we are going to see a number of strike outs as different federal, state, and local authorities learn to communicate and play together using web-based protocols and practices. But we are also going to see some exciting home runs and grand slams, too.

Upgrade your business or home’s security and curb appeal by installing elegant wrought iron steel picket gates in the Bronx, NY. When you work with wrought iron fence brooklyn ny, you can feel confident that your fence or gate will be solidly constructed and beautifully crafted.—and OMB’s requirement that agencies use the web for accountability disclosure—has launched a regular web-based ecosystem of activity with a healthy opportunity for competition and transparency one-upsmanship. This kind of activity has the look and feel of a virtuous cycle of innovation that we’ve see before on the web are seeing again, for example, with twitter and it’s spin offs or the explosion of activity in the iPhone’s App Store). Here are a few more data points:

So, when I finally started to explore the Recovery sites, I grew fond of the incompleteness found in OMB’s 62 page detailed guidance memo to agencies. Inside the typical Washington-ese of the memo was a basic message that came from the Recovery Act and OMB amplified. That message was: “Use the Web, stupid.” Stating this in 2009 is very different that stating in 2004 or even 2006 (when Sunlight Foundation launched). In the, post Obama-campaign 2009 world, all the young professionals grew up on the web. The web-requirements of the Obama administration and it’s new, back-on-the-job CIO Vivek Kundra (a 30-something year old himself) essentially unleashed the web talent inside government agencies that had been shackled by the chains of the way things were always done. Voilà! In 30 days since the Act became law, more than 70 government web “sites” have been launched. (And a lot of non-government recovery sites, too, which I’m not mentioning). Where do we ever see things happen that quickly…except on the web?