Monday, March 29, 2010

Giving Voice to Value ... Aspen Institute Center for Business Education

Dear Colleagues

Value needs to be central to a meaningful set of metrics for a smart society. It is therefore encouraging when the more well known institutions take up the challenge of trying to put value into the mainstream. This what seems to be going on with an initiative of Yale University and the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education to upgrade business education with a component called "Giving Voice to Value"

The fits very well with the conceptual framework of Community Analytics where the most important metrics are associated with value ... albeit, a not very easy idea to address in a simple fashion and not easy to quantify. But for all that it is very important. Here is the note recently sent to the principal researcher and author of the upcoming book on "Giving Voice to Value"
Dear Dr. Gentile

Giving Voice to Values: the How of Business Ethics ... I am sorry that I missed your visit to New Jersey February 19th ... but I hope I will be able to "catch up" in due course

The state of socio-economic metrics in the broadest sense of these data is, in my view, a shambles and an absolute disgrace. Why do I say this?

Science and technology has progressed over the past 50 years, and I would argue that the technology to do data acquisition and to do analysis is a million times more powerful now than at the beginning of my career.

I learned about metrics as an engineer ... in thermodynamics, in hydraulics, in structures, in mechanics, in control theory. Subsequently I learned economics ... and accountancy ... and how metrics is done in these areas. Putting all this together worked very well for corporate profit planning and measuring corporate performance ... but did not work very well for society as a whole. Because corporate profit, stock market prices and GDP growth are pretty much the only measures that are talked about ... it is no wonder that society has "gone to hell in a hand-basket!".

Your subject ... Giving Voice to Value ... is exactly at the center of Community Analytics (CA) which is the methodology that has emerged from my rather long experience. But I think there is probably one thing that is fundamentally different between the work you have done and what we have done. In our view socio-economic performance is not an "add-on" to corporate metrics, but at the core of the community. Our measures start off from the community perspective and reach into the corporate activities as far as they are allowed. The goal is a society that is progressing ... and the corporate entity may or may not be a part of the equation ... but the community is always in play, and its metrics are the ones that matter.

I hope this makes sense to you ... the idea that you are doing the "value" thing is exciting. I hope I can learn something from what you are doing.


Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

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