Many believe if we hope to manage something, it must be measured. W. Edwards Deming, however, the the most successful and famous quality management guru counterintuitively demonstrated the need and value of managing unmeasurable things such as education if people or organizations want to create true progress. His work therefore debunked the myth that it has to be measured to be managed. However, in life, what gets measured is also usually gets managed. This paradox highlights the possible value and importance of measuring progress.
Progress is important and valued because it is a personal and societal innate desire. Progress, however, is a slippery concept because often what we think of as progress, or what society has led us to believe is progress, may only be helpful to a few and harmful to many.
Currently, most of the world uses GDP, the total value of good and services produced during one year, to measure progress. While GDP can document some progress, it has many shortcomings as a measure of progress. The current measure of progress is an example of how an inaccurate measurement leads to poor management.
Many of the shortcomings of GDP as a measure of progress were noted in Robert Kennedy’s famous March 18, 1968 speech about GDP:
Michael Green’s TED Presentation offers a social progress index as an alternative way to measure progress to overcomes the noted problems of the GDP measure. In other words, most are saying we should be working toward and measuring the creation of interactions from which everyone and everything benefits (paneugenesis) to indicate progress. To me this is what Michael Green suggests – Enjoy.