Drinking from the firehose
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“Drinking from the Firehose ”. Two Key Points. Visualization helps make sense of information But neither information nor visualization ….. imply that we will learn Avoid the illusion of learning. Three Key Questions. Targeting of Need Donor Coordination Recipient Feedback

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Drinking from the firehose

“Drinking from the Firehose”


Drinking from the firehose

Two Key Points

  • Visualization helps make sense of information

  • But neither information nor visualization

    ….. imply that we will learn

    Avoid the illusion of learning


Drinking from the firehose

Three Key Questions

  • Targeting of Need

  • Donor Coordination

  • Recipient Feedback

    Where do information and visualization get us?

    The role of geocoding…


Drinking from the firehose

Targeting of Need

Geocoding allows fund tracking at the

sub-national level

Does aid reach and help the neediest?


Drinking from the firehose

Full .pdf here


Drinking from the firehose

Targeting of Need

How do we really know whether aid helps?

Will visualizations mislead users?


Drinking from the firehose

Donor Coordination

Do donors coordinate to target areas of need?

Geographic clustering in areas of concentrated need

…Spread out in areas of diffuse need


Drinking from the firehose

The Swarm Principle

Is clustering inherently problematic?

What is missing?

...cofinancing. else?


Drinking from the firehose

Recipient Feedback

Geocoding makes possible leveraging the

wisdom of crowds through decentralized

citizen and NGO feedback


Drinking from the firehose

Recipient Feedback

If you build it…

will they really come?

Locations, Incentives….not technology


Drinking from the firehose

Good, Better, Best

Complexity of development:

  • Need for other types of information

  • Better information on aid and need over time

  • Methods for multiple variablesand identification of causal pathways

    Randomized Controlled Trials


Drinking from the firehose

The Illusion of Learning?

  • We’re betting on transparency and visualization

    • I’m on board

      But more information does not imply learning

      Visualization does not imply learning

      In the race for information, let’s take the time to learn