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Government Seeks IT Help To Track Stimulus Funds

Getting IT and Web input from citizens for Recovery.gov is a way to "engage the American people in ingenuity and innovation," says federal CIO Vivek Kundra.
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra obviously had some influence on the IT Dialogue. Before his appointment in February, he was CIO of Washington, D.C., where he launched the Applications For Democracy contest as a way to bring innovations to the government at little cost. Developers large and small submitted 47 Web, iPhone, and Facebook applications for $20,000 in cash prizes.

The idea behind IT Dialogue and Apps for Democracy is that "democracies flourish when they're practiced in the public square," Kundra said in a recent interview. "Whether it comes in the form of competition or groups that leverage information we publish, we believe there's a huge opportunity to rethink how technology may be deployed, and how to engage the American people in ingenuity and innovation and drive down not only costs, but also barriers."

So how's it working? As of April 30, more than 300 ideas had been submitted; entrants range from enterprising tech enthusiasts to IT vendors hoping to eventually sell software licenses and/or consulting fees to federal agencies.

Those receiving the most comments include an idea for presenting performance reports by a firm called Strategisys using its Cascade software; an idea to add mapping and geographic analysis to Recovery.gov, submitted by ESRI; and one to track stimulus projects by Google Earth and Webcam, submitted by an individual.

Those interested in participating had better hurry: The last day to submit ideas and comments for the weeklong contest is May 3.


InformationWeek will be highlighting innovative government IT organizations in an upcoming issue. Nominate your agency by submitting an essay on your most innovative IT initiative completed in the last year. Find out more, and nominate your organization -- deadline extended to May 15.

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing