Around the Institute

Trick-ing and Treat-ing…

November 3, 2012

Measuring What “Makes Life Worthwhile”

Well, let’s start with a pretty important question: so, how do you capture what makes life worthwhile… globally? The Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index attempts to get at this by analyzing both country-level economic output data and results from surveys of people’s everyday experiences. And guess what? The Norwegians, Danes and Swedes came out on top, again. We applaud (i.e., jump with joy while clapping our hands) this combination of the quantitative and qualitative. That’s how we like it.

Data Systems
Matthew Forti offers nonprofits some tips to avoid falling into the “data system trap,” or that tendency to collect more and more data without really thinking strategically about what matters and why. We’d like to underscore his first point: before gathering data, have a purpose. This means understanding how your potential data system links back to the indicators you want to measure. Careful planning before doing something big is plain smart.


Just in time for this week’s ghoulish festivities, The Atlantic Cities released its ranking of cities best prepared for trick-or-treaters. But coincidentally, Brent Toderian’s latest blog post, also for The Atlantic Cities, implicitly disputes this ranking logic by pointing out that we should look at the physical space of neighborhoods and how easy it is for kids to go door-to-door. You can be sure we tried to measure this last Wednesday, incognito to—you know—blend in. Verdict: To our dentist’s dismay, our barrios are A-OK