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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

GAAP Changes and Community Indicators

You may have heard the news already -- the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is moving towards adoption of IFRS accouting standards in lieu of the GAAP. I bet it was a topic of water-cooler conversations and cocktail parties across the world.

Well, maybe not. Unless you're an accountant, the movement of the U.S. to an international set of accounting standards likely won't affect you in the least. I only noticed because of a comment someone made about the announcement, one that seems to have some bearing on the work underway now to help grow community indicators around the world.

In Closing the Information GAAP, Gordon Crovitz writes:

As technology has shown in other areas of life, agreed-upon standards and accepted operating systems drive usage and efficiency. Common measures add value to information. If even the belt-and-suspenders accounting profession is willing to take on the risks of switching its basic system for assessing businesses, we're truly in an era when anything that adds to understanding belongs in the asset column, while anything that undermines transparency is a liability.

Now you see why I thought this was of interest to community indicators practitioners. As we encourage open sharing of information, strong metadata standards, and reliable reporting of indicator trendlines, we're part of a larger trend that sees information as a vital community resource. The better we get at developing shared standards for quality data and reporting, the more we can advance the use of information in community decision-making.

And in doing so, we can encourage the democratization of data, so that information is in the hands of the full community, and not just a privileged few.

What are your thoughts?


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