Saturday, February 27, 2010

Haiti ... and a parallel plan

Dear Colleagues

The Haiti emergency has moved from rescue to relief, and is now starting to move to the remaking or rebuilding phase.

It is not clear whether this will be a process that gets Haiti back to the pre-emergency situation or to something better. It seems that there will be an "official" development plan prepared by the Government of Haiti and its international collaborators including the UN and the major donors and large NGOs.

The diaspora may be included in the preparation of this plan, or they may be excluded. It is not yet clear. Nor is it clear whether the plan will be prepared using a methodology that builds on the natural resources of Haiti, or whether it will be little more than large scale development welfare. None of this is clear.

An unofficial plan can be prepared that will either complement the official plan or perhaps even supersede and official plan. If the Community Analytics (CA) planning methodology is embraced it will be possible to have socio-economic progress that is constrained by the physical and human resources and not by just money that is likely to be way too little.

A proposal has been floated to do this planning in collaboration with organizations already operating in Haiti and in collaboration with the diaspora. The goal would be to have a draft circulating at the same time that the official plan is presented to the UN at the end of March!

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

Greece ... Another failure for responsible financial reporting

Dear Colleagues

Greece ... its national accounts are another example in the systemic failure to have responsible financial reporting. My position is that the accountancy profession has completely failed to ensure that the reporting of critical financial information is being done correctly. I thought this was the core function of the accountancy profession when I qualified in 1965 in the UK ... but I appear to have been sadly mistaken.

My college friend Peter Allen, observed almost 20 years ago that the profession had become a business. He was right about that. But there is a need for a profession that is going to stand up and ensure that the numbers being reported are clear and understandable and right. There also needs to be something that makes clever organizations like Goldman Sachs think twice about gaming the system while at the same time profiting on every side of every trade.

I would support creative financial services if they would explain to me how their creative work results in socio-economic value adding ... but bottom line, there seems to be nothing more than a very profitable (for Goldman Sachs and similar firms) zero sum game, which means that for every dime of profit they make someone loses. In the end, the socio-economic system crashes ... but the typical bank executive really could not care less because his (or her) social economy is safely off in some walled community that lives in a luxury bubble that seems secure ... for the moment!

I thought the worst of the financial crash was behind us ... but maybe I was wrong. The derivative virus has probably infected everything that the banking and financial sector quants have touched!

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)

Money ... what is it?

Dear Colleagues

The role of money in modern society needs to be better understood. This video is good ... though rather long.

My views about money are complicated by my education in engineering and accountancy as well as economics. I like the book by Galbraith on 'Money" ... which like so much of Galbraith challenges conventional wisdom.

Community Analytics (CA) is not about the "mechanics" of the socio-economic system ... just about measuring its progress and performance ... or lack of.

I would be interested in feedback about the ideas in the video.

Peter Burgess

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Profit or value from healthcare in the USA?

Dear Colleagues

I was interested to hear a thoughtful MD describe the health care sector as having three segments (1) the providers (2) the patients; and (3) the industry. The observation was made in the context of remaking the healthcare sector in Haiti, and was very positive.

Some hours later I heard the US health sector described in similar terms ... except the reference was extremely negative. The negative was simply that a critical stakeholder in the US are the owners of the industry, whether it is the for profit big pharma or the for profit big insurance that ... according to this observer ... had little or no interest in the other stakeholders and especially patients. If there were more profits ... that was good ... for these stakeholders, and that is all that matters.

This model of metrics is one of the reasons why the CA methodology is needed. Profit is good ... but only when the profit is also contributing to social value. Profit that is merely a consumption of value is highly undesirable for society ... and those that earn profit in this manner should be held accountable in every way possible.

In the healthcare sector there is a huge value proposition ... and within this there is plenty of room for profit ... but the metrics needed to understand this are not currently easily accessible, even if they are available at all. This can and should be changed as soon as possible.

Peter Burgess

Accountability ... as more e-governance is deployed!

Dear Colleagues

I want to comment on a message on an Indian blog/listserve
Govt. plans $10 Billion e-governance program
In an attempt to provide better services to its citizens, the Indian government plans to spend $10-billion on the National e-Governance program, according to Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Additional Secretary, S.R. Rao.

The question is how does the public ensure that the activities of "government" are in the interest of the people ... how does society have an adequate level of accountability from those in power and in control?

In the USA, the press were included in the broad system of government in order to have some of this accountability ... but that was more than 200 years ago when the possibilities of computer driven manipulation was not possible. We know first hand from the financial implosion of 2007/2008 that computer driven gaming of the financial system can produce disaster ... and it is not much of a stretch to image equally obnoxious behaviors within government structures.

It is likely that there can be better outcomes all around if there are more decision that are made at the local level where there can be meaningful accountability ... but many things still need to be handled at a national and international level, and for this the methodology of accountability is, at best, clumsy. As more and more e-governance is deployed, there needs to be more and more effort to maintain a decent level of accountability.

Some of the methodology of Community Analytics (CA) has relevance for this.

Peter Burgess

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Healthcare ... cost or value?

Dear Colleagues

The problem with the dialog about healthcare in the United States is that there is a lack of clarity about the financial analysis and economics. This is something that Community Analytics (CA) addresses very well.

Good health is a very important value. Quality of life is good when health is good, and deteriorates markedly with illness and any form of debilitation. Job opportunities reduce when health deteriorates. The "value" of good health is enormous.

Health science has improved over the past decades in an amazing way. The health sector is in a position to intervene in all sorts of ways to improve the health status of an individual. These interventions have a cost, and there is a price. Because of the complex structure of the health sector, the underlying cost very rapidly becomes difficult to ascertain because a transaction price is now a mix of both cost and profit. Nothing wrong with profit ... but it should be at a level that is reasonable.

Reasonable is subjective ... but there are some financial or economic calculations that can help. Risk and reward go hand in hand. Return on investment is another useful metric. Remuneration per hour or day is useful. Too many people in the healthcare industry are underpaid and doing valuable work ... and too many people are overpaid. Few of the financial and economic facts about the healthcare industry are presented anywhere in an easy and understandable and complete way. Argument and opinion are more accessible than the data that would drive a good analysis.

And the customers of the healthcare industry. Some get amazing care ... some get far too little care. The best possible outcomes are constrained by financial and economic considerations at both the customer side and the supplier side. In New York, as this is being written, St. Vincent's Hospital is in financial difficulties and may well close. The basic reason is that it has to serve many customers through its emergency rooms that need care and cannot pay. This is a bad outcome for a healthcare system that has the science and professional capacity to be amazing and a financial and economic structure that makes the national health outcome third rate.

The CA approach to financial and economic analysis can be used to improve data about the value and cost dimensions of the health sector from the perspective of the society as a whole. The methodology will show that on the face of it some of the reform going through Washington is valuable, but more important, CA will also show how this value diminishes in practice unless there is data to monitor how things change!

Peter Burgess

Monday, February 22, 2010

Balance sheet change ... metric of progress

Part of the genius of double entry business accountancy is the integration of the balance sheet and the operating statement. This same construct is used in the Community Analytics (CA) framework. What this means is that the change in the "state" of the community translates into a measure of progress.

The balance sheet of a community has a variety of assets and liabilities. Some of these are tangible like land and buildings, or natural resources like timber and minerals. Other assets are intangible but important like the state of health of the population, the education of the population, the level of crime in the community and such. The presence of organizations is an asset, and the opportunity for work is an asset. The lack of various things, including the lack of economic opportunity or jobs is a liability or reduction in the value of the community.

In any community the various balance sheet elements change over time. CA tracks these changes at three levels (1) in general terms (2) in a quantified way; and (3) in a way that applies value to the quantification. The first step helps to appreciate where a community is progressing or not, but does not quantify the matter. Just having this information in general terms is a big first step.

The importance of various elements can be recorded using a technique similar to the Analytical Hierarchical Process. While it may be difficult to quantify, it is relatively easy to put things in order of importance or give things a ranking.

The goal is not a simple answer. In CA the goal is to have understanding of how progress is behaving, and how progress might be improved.

This description is only a starting point ... balance sheet analysis in GAAP accounting is a big subject, and it is even bigger in CA.

Haiti emergency ... and accountability

The signs are not good ... the amount of fund raising and the flow of funds to benefit Haitians are not going to reconcile. The accounting and accountability have a very low priority, and soon the public will have forgotten and moved on.

This is a fairly standard experience. Some of the major organizations like the UN has introduced some improved practices relative to past emergencies, but the overall accountability leaves a lot to be desired. The UN has compiled data that show how much various organizations have requested and how much has been received ... so there is some information about how much has been mobilized for these appeals. But there is little or no data that show how these resources have been used.

As far as one can see as an outsider, there is no accounting associated in any way with what has been done on the ground. This reflects a management attitude about cost efficiency in performance that is surprising ... but almost universal in the relief and development sector where accounting and financial analysis has virtually no standing.

This is not new ... the lack of cost controls in government, the public sector and the relief and development sector is a long standing problem. It allows poor performance to be tolerated because none of the critical performance metrics are in place.

Where the organizations will not do the accountability, it falls to society to take on the challenge. This is what Community Analytics (CA) can do. At some point CA metrics will show how little benefit is derived from official relief and development assistance compared to its cost ... and someone is going to need to find some answers!

Peter Burgess

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Please vote ... for accountability!

Dear Colleagues

Many of you know of my concern about accountability and are aware of my ongoing effort to implement an initiative to improve the system of metrics for socio-economic progress and performance.

This is moving to reality with Community Analytics (CA). recently launched the 2010 Ideas for Change in America competition, and I've submitted "Community Analytics (CA)."

To win the competition the idea needs votes ... and quickly!

To support this idea, all you have to do is click on the link below and you can vote in less than a minute.

The top 10 voted ideas will be presented at an event in Washington, DC to relevant members of the Obama Administration, and then promoted to's full community of more than 1 million people. So we could have a real impact.

Thanks for the help! Very much appreciated.

Peter Burgess
Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)
skype: peterburgessnyc

Friday, February 19, 2010

People ... human capital and the driver of progress

The most important asset on the planet is the human resource ... the people.

In many ways, the story of the USA is all about people having opportunity and working to build happiness and prosperity. American prosperity built on work and wealth creation, and not built on relief and development welfare. The opportunity to work ... the space to work ... made the success of the USA. Countries where there is little prosperity also are countries where people have not had economic opportunity ... and it is very difficult to break this cycle.

The future of poor communities will depend on how the people of the community can be integrated into surplus producing economic activities. If people can be organized to engage in surplus producing activities, there can be a paradigm shift in the profile of poverty and prosperity in these communities.

Most socio-economic planning is done around money budgets that aim to balance expenditures and funding available. This is part of the process, but the way the resources are used should be to optimize the impact on the society. It is imperative that relief and development includes everything needed to have surplus producing economic opportunity for the people

Community Analytics (CA) has the value of people central to socio-economic analysis. When a person is healthy and well educated the value of this person is high ... both to society and to him or herself. The value will be realized through surplus producing employment if the employment is available ... the value will be wasted if there is no employment.

The value of a person changes with education, with changes with an individual's health and changes with age. These changes are not simple and easy to quantify ... but what is clear is that the threesome of education, health and jobs together produce value that is way more just two. Relief and development that has a focus on health and education without the jobs component is going to be high cost and unsustainable.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CA and accountability in the global health sector

Dear Colleagues

So now it is time to follow up some more. Two steps (1) first to send messages and (2) to get the material posted on this blog. The senior people in big organizations have got to understand that there is a community of interested people in the public who are stakeholders in the operations of the big organizations, and this group is going to be heard, and is going to be part of decision making and accountability in the future.

This is the message that was sent.
Subject: Fwd: Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies
To:, "Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)"

Dear Colleagues

Did you get the message below?

I have something of an issue with the proliferation of "one way communications" where important public pronouncements are made by the elite leadership of organizations, but no place for meaningful dialog. This would not matter if the "management of the planet" over the past years had been really good, but when it has been, in fact, really bad ... then this dialog becomes important.

I am particularly concerned at the lack of interest in the subject of accountability beyond a talking point at workshops and conferences and as a subject for short papers. The actual practice of accountability has been avoided by all the major organizations engaged in the official relief and development assistance (ORDA) community for a very long time ... in part because there is a lot that needs to be kept hidden, and in part because the accounting systems are not very good, and the knowledge to do results analysis and accountability is extremely limited. This is not a new problem ... it was already an issue in the 1970s and 1980s, but it does not seem to have been resolved.

I would very much like to be of help ... but messaging into cyberspace is not much good to anyone. Please would you be kind enough to let me have a contact point to take up this matter seriously.

Thanking you in anticipation

Peter Burgess
Community Analytics

Now we wait. I know the people at the top are busy, but their staff may be tasked to handle issues like this, if the leadership is serious.

We will be able to explore this in more detail as more facts emerge.

In the meantime, the CA approach to socio-economic progress and performance metrics at the community level goes on. Already interesting how little impact any of the big organizations really has at the community level ... but this should not come as much of a surprise to anyone.

Peter Burgess

CA and accountability in the global health sector

Dear Colleagues

After reading the paper on Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies I felt that I should reach out to the people who had written the paper. If they are committed to serious progress, then the CA initiative should be under consideration. This is the message:

Date: Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 1:42 AM
To:, "Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)"
Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies
Dear Colleagues

I was interested in the recently published essay "Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies".

I agree with much of what this essay describes ... but there are some areas where my recommendations would be different.

I would have liked to see in Table 1 some reference to community analysis. There is a recognition that the focus on single disease dataflows should be enhanced by broadening into an all-health focus. I argue for data that addresses all the factors that impact a person's well being in a community and especially the person's health. Money spent on water and sanitation might be more impactful than money spent on curative medicines, for example. Perhaps, money spent on a village health worker may be more useful than money spent in an urban hospital.

The goal of dataflows should be to get better results ... better health outcomes ... and this is partly done by getting better data to the international oversight and research organizations, but it is also done by getting more meaningful data into the hands of people making local decisions. This argues for more data that are useful about the health issues in a community and the resources associated with health
in that community. The key to better health is not more money spent on data, but more valuable data. Way better design of the data systems is possible and this is about using brain not just about more money.

The whole area of performance monitoring and evaluation needs a rethink. Some M&E is very good ... most is too little and too late ... and not done with an adequate level of independence and objectivity. I have experienced not being paid when my report did not satisfy the project that was being evaluated! Is this common ... no ... because
most report writers are unable or unwilling to take a stand ... and I do not blame them!

The approach to data needs to be reviewed in order to get more valuable data at much less cost. The attempts to improve the data flows do not appear to reflect optimized cost effectiveness. The technology to handle data has been cost reduced by several orders of magnitude over the past two decades ... but data still has a very high
cost. This needs to be addressed.

The approach to analysis needs to be improved. Approaches that are needed to support medical science are not needed in order to get data that deals with socio-economic matters. The cost of medical interventions is best done with an accounting approach ... and the profile of disease in a community best done using simple data recording associated with good diagnostic methods. Lots of statistics are not the best way to go for this sort of information.

It is unacceptable that most health program managers do not understand the behavior of cost in their programs, nor the impact of their programs. The difference between the concept of cost efficiency and cost effectiveness is rarely understood ... yet it is vital to good performance and progress with limited resources.

I like the fact that this essay has been written ... but it does stop short of where I believe we should be going. It is, nevertheless a useful start. If I can be helpful in clarifying these brief notes, I would be pleased to respond to any questions.

Peter Burgess
Peter Burgess
Community Analytics (CA)
And then I waited ... with not very much expectation of response.

CA and accountability in the global health sector

Dear Colleagues

This text is from a message I received at the end of January

From: Ruggiero, Mrs. Ana Lucia (WDC)
crossposted from:

Meeting the Demand for Results and Accountability: A Call for Action on Health Data from Eight Global Health Agencies
Margaret Chan1*, Michel Kazatchkine2, Julian Lob-Levyt3, Thoraya Obaid4, Julian Schweizer5, Michel Sidibe6, Ann Veneman7, Tadataka Yamada8
1 World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland,
2 Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Geneva, Switzerland,
3 Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Geneva, Switzerland,
4 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), New York, New York, USA,
5 Human Development Network, World Bank, Washington, D.C., USA,
6 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva, Switzerland,
7 United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York, New York, USA,
8 Global Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington, USA

PLoS Med 7(1): e1000223. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000223 Published January 26, 2010
Available online at:

“……Recent substantial increases in international attention to health
have been accompanied by demands for statistics that accurately track
health progress and performance, evaluate the impact of health
programs and policies, and increase accountability at country and
global levels.

The use of results-based financing mechanisms by major global donors has created further demand for timely and reliable data for decision-making. In addition, there is increasing country demand for data in the context of health sector strategic plans, including in countries that have established International Health Partnership (IHP+) compacts [1].

In spite of recognized efforts by programs and countries, the ability to respond to this demand is constrained by limited data availability, quality, and use. Many developing countries have limitations that hamper the production of data of sufficient quality and timeliness to permit regular tracking of progress made in scaling up and strengthening health systems. Data gaps span across the range of input, output, outcome, and impact indicators.

New ways of working and a more systematic approach by all partners are needed to better monitor and evaluate progress and performance….”

The issue of data has been a talking point for a very long time ... but the steps to improve data have been haphazard, to say the least. A structure to make data valuable is never part of the agenda ... and the data ends up costing a lot and doing rather little. The situation in 2010 is not much improved over the situation 30 and 40 years ago ... just more technology on top of ineffective dataflows.

The next blog is a response I made to the corresponding reference.

How to make accountability happen?

Dear Colleagues

Community Analytics (CA) is a powerful tool for accountability ... and all the more important as an independent initiative because the main actors in the global economy see accountability a something for key stakeholders only with no accountability to the public in general and the society in which we all live.

This prevailing framework of money based metrics is unsound ... and explains to a large extent why the banking and finance sector was able to undermine the foundations of the world economy. A focus on money profit under unprincipled GAAP and FASB rules of accountancy, a focus on stockmarket price growth and a focus on GDP growth to the exclusion of almost everything that was of substance in society ... like infrastructure, for example ... and an economic train wreck was bound to happen.

CA addresses the issue of money accounting and value accounting ... but what about the basics of transparency and accountability.

Very few organizations are willing to engage in the practice of transparency, and in doing accountability so that the public understands where resources are going and what is happening to the society. This is a tremendous problem, that has to be addressed. CA will do everything possible ... recognizing that big organizations in general do not want to see accountability in place, bad small organizations having the same position, and only good small organizations wanting to collaborate. This is not a strong position ... but it is not an impossible position. CA will be engaged as much as is possible and for as long as it takes!

In the next blog, some correspondence about metrics in the global health sector.

Peter Burgess

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What role for accountants in rescue, relief and rebuilding?

Dear Colleagues

I am doing everything I can to make the Community Analytics (CA) initiative visible. The following was posted to a LinkedIn discussion on "Accountants for Haiti", a subgroup of Haitian Development Professional Group
What role for accountants in rescue, relief and rebuilding?

It is reasonable that there is little specific accountability in the rescue phase. The goal is simple ... to save lives. The strategy is to everything possible with whatever resources can be obtained ... and do it now. Rescue lasts a few days at most.

The relief phase starts immediately with the emergency ... all the basics are needed today, and in a few days everyone needed relief should have access to the basics of relief. In these initial few days there should be a strong accounting framework available and in use. Accounting should be in place as a vital tool in the management of resources and the accountability of everyone concerned.

Relief changes into rebuilding ... and if done well, the resources are used not only for immediate relief but to achieve a step forward in the process of rebuilding. The accountant needs to be fully involved with this, so that there can be good control accountancy, but also good analytical accountancy.

As things stand at the moment the huge value of donated professional time appears nowhere in the accounting ... while many institutions think that when they no longer have the money, something good has been done with it. This is plain ridiculous ... and accountants have to stand up and start to make a noise. I will do it, I hope others will join me.

We shall see if anyone takes any notice!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cost, price and value

Reposted from WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30, 2008 in the related blog: Tr-Ac-Net on Community Impact Accountancy

Dear Colleagues

The three most important numbers about almost anything are cost, price and value.

With a deep understanding of cost, price and value it is possible to explain much of the behavior of the economy ... and to understand why things are progressing or not.

Cost is a useful metric for productivity. Productivity goes up and it is likely that cost goes down.

Price and cost determine profit ... and this is the main driver of decisions in the for profit corporate space.

Value and cost determine value adding for society ... for the community.

Where price is positioned relative to cost and to value determines what proportion of the value adding that is captured by the corporate entity and that which remains for the consumer and public external to the corporate entity.

By careful presentation of price, it is possible for the corporate entity to get more of the value for itself than there is value ... which is what happened in, for example, the sub-prime mortgage debacle.

Corporate GAAP accounting is mainly about cost and price. Community Impact Accountancy (CIA) is a system that has both price and value in the analysis framework so that there can be a focus on performance in terms of community rather than just in terms of the corporate entity.

For more information please contact me.


Peter Burgess

Focus on community

Community Analytics (CA) has a focus on the community. The reason for this is that it is at the community level that quality of life is experienced in practice. When problems are allowed to persist at the community level, then the quality of life is compromised.

Most economic performance metrics have a focus on the organization, the capital markets or the macro-economic indicators. There are very detailed statistics based on these metrics ... but these are only useful in the context of wealth management and the money profit dimension of the economy. The quality of life and socio-economic progress are not accounted for in these performance metrics.

By acquiring data about critical aspects of a community and its socio-economic situation ... and the socio-economic activities that are taking place in the community ... it becomes possible to understand cause and effect in this community and plan to progress. The priorities should be in the best interest of the community.

CA value chain analysis may be used to show how much of value being created in the community stays with the community and how much is removed from the community. In many situations, in exchange for a few jobs for a few years, a community has a huge amount of irreplaceable natural resources removed and oftentimes a residual environmental pollution that cannot be remediated except at unaffordably high cost.

Community is where people live and people work. Good decisions for the community can improve the quality of life. Every community is different ... so an optimum program is going to be one that is best suits each individual community.

The problem of dysfunctional socio-economic metrics

The development of Community Analytics (CA) has been motivated by the dysfunction of modern socio-economic metrics, and the idea that this is a very serious matter. It is widely appreciated that: (1) what gets measured gets done; and, (2) that the way the game is scored determines the way the game is played.

Where the preponderance of metrics have a singular focus on profit without giving much consideration to other matters that affect a sustainable quality of life, then there are going to be undesirable consequences.

In the past several decades the dominant metrics about socio-economic performance have been (1) the profits in the private sector; (2) the performance of the stock market; and, (3) the growth of GDP.

For a corporate business the profit metric serves the interests of the owners very well, and this is leveraged in public companies by the way stock prices multiply based on profit and profit growth. This works well for the allocation of resources within a company ... but that is as far as it goes.

The performance of the stock market is a reflection of profit performance, together with a lot of other indicators all of which equate with big is better. Not the least of these is the GDP indicator.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a complex and confusing indicator. The way it is calculated means that there is a mix of bad things being treated as good, and good things ignored or reflected as bad. The high cost of good health in the USA appears in the GDP as a "good thing" ... that is the GDP is bigger. High consumption is always considered a good thing in the GDP calculation. This is good when people are moving from poverty to satisfying reasonable needs ... but less good when it is merely producing waste or when the consumption is driving international trade imbalances.

The problem is not only about what is measured, but more so with what does not get measured. There are no widely accepted systems for measuring the value of economic activities, yet it is value that can serve as a good measure of quality of life. Value is subjective, and it is not easy to quantify. But because value is key to quality of life it is important that value is included in the system of metrics.

If value can become central to socio-economic metrics, there can be a paradigm shift in how decisions and made, and how this feeds into accountability.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why do a blog about Community Analytics?

Blogging about Community Analytics (CA) is needed as part of a complete program to help familiarize people about the initiative.

The need for something like CA is obvious when CA type value analysis is applied to the existing metrics. But most people are quite happy to go along with the status quo, including the metrics that give the status quo such stability. The situation is the classic Catch22.

The CA methodology has been developed based on the ideas that (1) what gets measured gets done; and, (2) the way the game is scored determines how the game is played. For most of the industrial revolution wealth was about the accumulation of money and property that had money value. Anything else was left out of the equation. Nearly 200 years of this system of money metrics, with social value metrics sidelined for all of this time means that the game has become very focused on money to the detriment of value.

It is increasingly clear that the money metric needs to be supplemented by a value metric ... and while value is subjective, and quantification is not very easy, it is clear that value metrics are going to be important.

It is also apparent that the focus of metrics should be much more about the community than about any individual organization, whether business or philanthropic. With this approach it becomes possible to do analysis that is not possible at the aggregate national level, nor with analysis that starts from the perspective of the organization, the sector or the project.

Feedback and comment is welcome.