Overseeing the development and design of a visualization to follow the money and follow the data for greater economic justice.

For years, the World Bank’s Governance programs have worked with colleagues in human rights and economic justice to illustrate the complex relationships between country budgets and international companies and between government revenues and the local communities that ought to benefit from government spending.

As new transparency rules and open data technologies emerge, we have new opportunities to connect the dots and make financial policy easier to understand.

Working with World Bank colleagues, fiscal transparency experts and veteran designer John Emerson, I’ve led the creation of several versions of a “Follow the Money” visual, conceived to be simple, flexible and, in future versions, interactive.

We’ve begun with a simple visual vocabulary to more clearly explain fiscal systems to a wider group. We’re making a tool that’s flexible for future uses, to help advocates save time and money, and to avoid rebuilding the wheel with another trendy infographic.

More importantly, we believe that by making a visualization that can be repurposed for different uses, we can give the groups that use it a channel for better collaboration.

While open data laws and watershed events like the Panama Papers reveal vast amounts of raw material to support data analysis and the fight on corruption, it’s the linkages between data sets and between private or government institutions that tell the real story.