The Challenge and Opportunity of Non-Monetary Measurement

I’ve been reading a book, called The Economics of Happiness, by economist and policy analyst Mark Anielski.EconomicsHappinessCover200

In his work, Mark noticed that when success is measured only in monetary terms (as it often is, most notably when we gauge a country’s success by its Gross Domestic Product/GDP), many other important things get ignored and neglected, leading to suffering, unhappiness, and wasted opportunities.

This is not news to those of us working to make change. We often bemoan the fact that money is the big focus in much of our world, and talk about how the ‘intangibles’ like happiness, integrity, trust, and wellness get short shrift.

But Mark is doing something practical about it. He’s developed a system called Genuine Wealth Indicators to measure the wellbeing of everything from individuals to companies to nations. It doesn’t exclude financial measures, but it puts them in their proper place alongside a variety of other indicators to produce a truer picture of how we’re doing.

For changemakers, this holds incredible, exciting potential. We often struggle with what we do- seeming too touchy-feely and fuzzy wuzzy.

How can we strategize if we can’t measure our progress? How can we engage powerful people from areas like government and big business (where reporting and measurement drive every decision) if we can’t quantify what we’re doing?

Obviously, I want to hear more about how this system works, and how it applies to changemakers in our personal lives and work. That’s why I’ll be sitting down with Mark one week from today for an interactive webcast conversation. I’ll ask him my questions, but you can ask him yours, too, through the online Q&A function of the webcast.

The session is free, but you do have to register. We’d love for you to join us: here’s the link.

By Nadine Riopel -