Over the past year and a half, USAID has been busy reinventing itself. The announcement of its USAID FORWARD initiative and the release (jointly, with the State Department) of the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review in late 2010 signaled significant changes for the organization, including several reforms designed to modernize operations and improve transparency. Part of that effort is making data collection and dissemination more open.
Representatives from USAID recently published an illuminating case study about the crowdsourcing experiment and launched it at the Wilson Center. “By leveraging partnerships, volunteers, other federal agencies, and the private sector, the entire project was completed at no cost,” the report noted, adding that USAID hoped to have “blaze[d] a trail to help make crowdsourcing a more accessible approach for others.” One of the case study authors, Shadrock Roberts, noted that “we need to be working as hard to release relevant data we already have as we are to create it.”