Outcome Brokers and the Recovery Act

Before the concept of an “Outcome Broker” existed in the paper “Can Government Work Like OpenTable?”, we were using it to drive a positive impact in the Recovery Implementation Office for the Vice President of the United States.  Among our goals were to create new jobs and save existing ones, spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth, and foster unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency in government spending.  When the Office was conceived, the Vice President and Ed DeSeve agreed that a CEO-model was not sufficient to disburse over $750 billion throughout the country.  Instead, we needed a coordinated body that could work across the White House, Federal Departments and Agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and the numerous good government organizations and partner groups to ensure that the money was being spent most effectively.

By taking sole command and control of the spending- an “industrial era” approach- we would have created decision making bottlenecks that couldn’t fully leverage a thriving community of willing civil servants who were looking to help the country out of a crisis.  Instead, we decided to use a small team that was made up of no more than 10 people (including interns). By implementing a collaborative approach, we were able to work with leaders across the country to unlock their mission data, break down their bureaucratic barriers, and ensure that the arteries of government were unclogged and able to deliver for the American people.

The term Outcome Broker itself, however, emerged in a conversation with my good friend Dan Forrester when we were talking about the silo-busting, collaboration-driven models used in the Recovery Implementation Office and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (see this video). This was a new way to do government and it needed to be captured- which we were able to do by conveying it in two words: Outcome Broker.  Today, over three years later, more and more horizontal agents are driving economic recovery and are delivering services to people across the country in whole new ways, despite living in vertical worlds. It is compelling to think that this represents the shift away from the bastions of the industrial era towards a world of interconnected people and technical platforms that can cut through the silos of information and organization to identify problems and deliver new outcomes.

This is the future that excites me and I look forward to using this site to explore the organizations that are using these new models to get things done.  As you identify new models and/or want to share new ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me here.  Take care – Frank



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