Ushering In A New Era Of Fact-Based, Data-Driven Government (Industry Perspective)

Robert Runge | Government Technology | November 12, 2014

How can government use data, arguably the most valuable natural resource of the 21st century, for smarter decision-making?  "We don’t just react based on our fears. We react based on facts and judgment and making smart decisions."  These were President Obama’s recent words as he tried to put the danger of the Ebola outbreak in perspective for Americans.

Regardless of how we feel about the disease and its threat to our country, it’s clear that Obama was trying to establish a fact-based decision-making and governing process.  In my opinion, this approach is needed at every level of government today, as public officials grapple with an unprecedented array of complex challenges and problems in all spheres – including national security, health, budget, transportation, crime, the environment and education.

Unfortunately, however, this type of factual decision-making and governance has been lacking in our country over the past few years, with policy too often driven by uninformed opinion or popular belief – not data. As a result, public-sector performance and accountability have been called into question.  I believe that we can do better...