MIA: ROI and still something's missing
28/10/2011 - "MIA: ROI and still something's missing" by Donal Carroll

MIA: ROI -and Still Something’s Missing!

Missing-in-action, return on investment - or something more??                                                                                                                      This blog started with Danny Dorling, Professor of human geography at Sheffield University proving that increased spending on schools in Labour's last five years raised standards and widened university intake.                                                                                                                         I got to wondering what does, doesn’t and should get measured…                                                                                                                       

On BBC’s ‘Newsnight’ during the NoTW hack-fest, a City financial ‘expert’ was given complete freedom to state that the hacking would do little damage to Murdoch’s NewsCorp in the US. It was just a little local difficulty. However, immediately after this apparently neutral contribution, another commentator said: ‘He would say that, he’s a key NewsCorp investor’. If this was true –and it can easily be checked- why didn’t the BBC presenter say so? And how often do business people give us ‘information’ which is the actual perspective of their business or sector? Ok, everyone has a perspective but not all are given a platform.                  

So how can we be more aware of dominant interests and measure their influence. A ‘breaking news’ type line at the bottom of the screen declaring interests? Fine, if there was the political will. But things –and us, as consumers, change. Remember when booze and fags companies claimed the social cost of their products couldn’t be measured. Here are some examples of measuring difficult things but when attempted with integrity, can change the whole perspective of public debate

1 According to a recent Sutton Trust report, the effects of good and bad teaching can now be measured not just in terms of student success but far more ambitiously, in terms of the economic capacity of students – they claim that bringing a poorly performing teacher up to the national average would ‘boost the lifetime earnings of a class of 30 by between £250-430k.’ Further, improving the lowest 10% of teachers up to the UK average, would, over 10 years, bring the UK’s position in international league tables from 21 to 3 in reading, and 22 to 5 in maths.                                                                   

2 What returns do (successful) innovators get from their ideas: according to economist William Nordhaus, innovators capture only 2.2% of the total social benefits of their innovations. The other 97.8% goes to consumers… Strangely precise figure, aren’t they? Even though we don’t know how they were produced, it’s worth attempting to measure. Starts the debate   

3 The illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel costs the Palestinian economy £4.4 billion a year, 85% of its gdp, keeping it underdeveloped. (Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem)    

We’ve come a long way since (poor) teachers claimed that learning couldn’t be measured, or the effects of bad management - and remember the business triple bottom line, what a company should do for its customers, staff and its community? Look what is happening to companies which ignore this now. Increasingly, what was previously thought ‘difficult’ is  being measured. Of course the measurement most in demand currently is web search optimising, how to best get people to a website. But this is a side show for the New Metrics: a new alphabet which has colonised just one letter and dispensed with the rest: web Analytics: customer attraction, attention, attribution and advocacy.     

What do you think is not being measured now which should be?

Finally, some old stuff from Learndontlearn: the cost of poor collective learning in organisations and the cost of its unlearning, and the impact of £32 billion worth of training occurring each year in the UK.

But what else??  Who is playing the metrics out there? What’s new? Let us know


Visitors' Comments on this Post

05/11/2011 Comment posted by Tim Stranack
When does an interest become dominant? Anyone in any media is likely to have an interest in the subject they are talking about, otherwise they would not be invited to speak about it. Is it just better to assume that anybody expressing their opinion has their own perspective / interest in the subject and accept it as that? After all we all create our own reality.

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