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About the Dialogue

In February 2009, Congress passed and President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In the face of an economic crisis, the magnitude of which we have not seen since the Great Depression, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act represents a strategic — and significant — investment in our country's future. The President also made an unprecedented commitment to implement the recovery in a transparent and accountable way, with a website — Recovery.gov — at the center of that effort.

Making Recovery.gov a useful portal for citizens requires finding innovative ways to integrate, track, and display data from thousands of federal, state, and local entities. With this online dialogue, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board is reaching out to the public, state and local partners, potential recipients and solution providers to help fulfill the commitment to a transparent and accountable recovery.

What kind of input can I contribute?

The Recovery Board is seeking input in four distinct areas:

  • Data Collection - Applicable Recovery data will be coming from disparate areas in different formats. Information and ideas are sought regarding best approaches, off the shelf solutions including applicable middleware, and other innovative ideas to assist in the collection of financial and other reporting information from a wide array of sources including federal, state, local and contractor/grant recipients. Data collection solutions must address the large variety of financial and reporting systems software/hardware platforms, the variety of data formats at all levels, as well as issues regarding the use of legacy systems. Ideas regarding quality assurance and the integrity of information will be valuable. Suggestions for collecting data or information key to the law's purposes, such as energy efficiency or how to apply for jobs, are also needed.
  • Data Storage/Warehousing - Recovery data at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels collected to monitor progress, provide transparency and explanations regarding use of Recovery funds may be stored in a variety of ways including staging databases(s) or data warehouses. This data will be coming from disparate areas in different formats, and it will be important to collect and rationalize it so that it can be provided for transparency and available for analysis by both government and the public. Best approaches and innovative ideas for data storage or mechanisms to access data feeds and methods to transfer large volumes of data to end users are solicited.
  • Data Analysis and Visualization - It is anticipated that many different types of users that will want tools that enable transparency. Therefore, it is essential that this system be able to present the complex interrelationships between data in a format that is easy to understand. Some additional core elements are reporting templates and geospatial mapping.
  • Website Design - A goal for recovery.gov websites is a site with immediate visual appeal providing a state of the art, intuitive public interface. Design suggestions for key solutions such as enhanced mapping, or best practices for displaying complex data files are needed.
  • Waste, Fraud and Abuse Detection - At the heart of a responsible recovery is ensuring that basic principles of accountability can be applied to the expenditure of recovery funds. Information on fraud detection methodologies based on analyzing the Recovery data is required. An additional need is innovative ideas and solutions for leveraging the transparency of the Recovery data to identify fraud, waste, and abuse, including best practices and techniques for collecting tips and complaints from the public.
  • Other Solutions for Transparency and Accountability - The basic notion behind this online dialogue is that some of the most important and innovative solutions lie outside government, and may not even have been discovered yet. The Recovery Board is seeking any innovative idea which may not fit into one of the "buckets" above, but which may prove critical in maximizing transparency and accountability. For instance, the administration is looking for creative solutions for ongoing training of government employees as well as algorithms that calculate secondary job creation through spending.

How do people participate in the National Dialogue?

To learn more about how the site works, please read our tutorial on using this site.

How will participation in the National Dialogue make a difference?

The aim of this National Dialogue is to produce concrete, actionable suggestions for the leaders charged with implementing a transparent and accountable economic recovery. Upon the close of this dialogue on May 3rd, 2009, the President's Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board will review the results of this discussion. This feedback will directly influence how Recovery.gov is built and operated.

Who are the hosts of the National Dialogue?

This National Dialogue is hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration. Established in 1967 and chartered by Congress, the National Academy is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation's most critical and complex challenges. As the home of The Collaboration Project, the National Academy is uniquely positioned to host this discussion.