Data-Driven Decision Making

America has entered an era of government expenditure unheard-of since the 1960s, if not the 1930s, yet its cash reserves are lower than ever. The New York Times reports that China is losing its taste for U.S. debt, cutting off one huge supply of easy credit that fueled the massive expansion of government after September 11th. Obama warned of a trillion-plus dollar deficit accumulating from this expansion and the ongoing effort to stimulate the economy — a burden he believes the American people will be unwilling to bear “unless we take extraordinary steps to ensure that the investments are made wisely and managed well.” How will we recognize “wisely and … well”„

Technology can ensure the efficient expenditure of government money by providing policy makers with strategic, targeted information. This “before the fact” approach allows those in control of public money to make wise investments to begin with. Projects like the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Mortgage Conditions Map, and Rhiza Labs’ own Insight deliver timely data to decision makers — and community members — in an easily understood visual format. Inter-agency data sharing further enhances their effectiveness — when decision makers view their data visualized alongside data from other sources, it can reveal unforeseen synergies and conflicts.

A syndicated approach to data management allows each individual generator of content to specialize, producing higher quality data in a particular area of interest. Here at Rhiza Labs, we believe that this model is the future of sound decision making in every social sector and all fields of endeavor. The Information Commons, a peer-to-peer network of geospatial, social, economic, and political data, is our pathway to this future, and our effort toward ensuring that public investments are “made wisely and managed well.”