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Qualifying quantities : the perils of measuring

UnknownClive Mitchell of Scottish Natural Heritage explores the awkward fit between linear measurement frameworks and messy outcomes.  Our Wallace tendencies now run deep, unthinkingly making targets out of indicators that are there to simplify complexity, not to ignore it.  Many of us have been forced to wear these made to be measured trousers, marching us off in the wrong strategic direction and Mitchell (speaking at the joint RSA/NLS  Public Service Reform Network event earlier this month) has a daunting list of obstacles to getting it right.  He points out that outcomes are multi-dimensional and indicators uni-dimensional, requiring us to use adaptive approaches to measurement that respond to specific sets of circumstances.  Wise words in a sector of measuring ‘judges’ and deliverers in the dock.

Image: commons.wikimedia.org

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