Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

OECD World Forum

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is holding its Second OECD World Forum on "Statistics, Knowledge and Policy", Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies, June 27-30, 2007, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Here's why they're putting on the forum:

Around the World, societies are increasingly concerned with their quality of life. And a consensus is growing around the need to develop a more comprehensive view of progress – one that takes into account social, environmental and economic concerns – rather than focusing mainly on economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product, which while an important measure of economic activity, was not developed to be the sole measure of a nation’s progress.

Click here for a link to the conference agenda, scheduled speakers, and other information.

Enrico Giovannini, Director General of Statistics for the OECD, provided this commentary (PPT) on the importance of indicators and what OECD is trying to accomplish when he spoke to the Community Indicators Consortium conference in March.

In a pre-forum this March in Rome, Italy, they discussed Dynamic Graphics for Presenting Statistical Indicators, about which I'm becoming increasingly interested as the breakthrough technology to overcome natural resistance and latent statistical illiteracy/innumeracy. The presentations given at the pre-forum are available on-line, as are links to several different tools for displaying data. (No rollercoaster game software listed, however.)

The OECD has also put a great deal of thought into social indicators. Here is their description of why and how they measure social indicators:

Social policy covers a great number of issues that do not stand on their own but, as is increasingly recognised, are diverse and interlinked. To provide this broad perspective Social Indicators have been developed to aim to serve the need for a concise overview of social trends and policies while paying due attention to the different national contexts in which such policies are being pursued.

As a result, they publish Society at a Glance: OECD Social Indicators - 2006 Edition, which outlines what they measure and how different nations of the world are doing in meeting the challenges identified.

If you haven't taken the opportunity to see the work OECD is doing, make some time to review the data and the information on their website. If you're going to Istanbul, let me know!


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