You can’t manage what you can’t measure is an old truism in business and these days we are awash with data. However determining what to measure can be tricky when you’re undertaking deep change. We are entering new territory, which means we need to rethink what we measure. For instance, job creation numbers have long been a common measure of economic growth, but those figures are insufficient if what we’re looking for is evidence of a transformative economic shift. For this episode Alaina and I went looking for information about how to think about evidence, what to look for and how to tailor evidence-gathering so it measures the deeper cultural shifts we want to see in communities, in the economy and in our institutions. Enter today’s two guests.
Jenelle Sobey and I first met about a decade ago as we were both starting out on new journeys. She was a recent graduate and I was thinking about what would eventually become Wicked Ideas. Jenelle’s career trajectory took her through the world of tech start-ups, social innovation, digital design and enterprise software, learning that contributed to her developing a Slow Hunch (a term coined by Steven Johnson) and social and environmental change, investors and data. The end result is Riddl, a Halifax-based fintech start-up she co-founded that helps companies and non-profits track, analyze and share social and environmental impact data.
Alaina met John Norman, the mayor of Bonavista, NL a couple of years ago when she was asked to introduce him during one of the stops on his speaking tour to brief rural communities in New Brunswick on the economic transformation underway in his home town. He calls it the ‘monetization of place-based capital’ and he has spent over a decade showing what that means through the work he and others have undertaken in this historic fishing outport. He’s the co-founder of Bonavista Living, which restores and preserves Bonavista’s built heritage, and Bonavista Creative, which invests in and supports the development of creative industries.
- Find out more about Frances Wesley, the McConnell Chair in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo, who was a major influence in Jenelle’s thinking.
- Read up on the UN’s 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs), which are increasingly used as a guide to determine what to measure in regards to social and environmental impact.
- The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.
- Check out the BCorp movement’s measurements, which is what I use for my company Wicked Ideas.
- Matt George, digital producer
- Lisa Hrabluk, co-host
- Alaina Lockhart, co-host
- Zachary Pelletier, sound engineer
A co-production of the Deep Change Network and Unsettled Media