image missing
HOME SN-BRIEFS SYSTEM
OVERVIEW
EFFECTIVE
MANAGEMENT
PROGRESS
PERFORMANCE
PROBLEMS
POSSIBILITIES
STATE
CAPITALS
FLOW
ACTIVITIES
FLOW
ACTORS
PETER
BURGESS
SiteNav SitNav (0) SitNav (1) SitNav (2) SitNav (3) SitNav (4) SitNav (5) SitNav (6) SitNav (7) SitNav (8)
Date: 2022-07-07 Page is: DBtxt001.php bk0008020

The Basic Concepts of True Value Metrics
Chapter 8 ... Using True Value Metrics

8-2 Getting Data About Community

Community Is Primary Focus

Choose a community

Community identification is critical

Because TVM is community centric there is a big focus throughout TVM on everything that has to do with the community. Therefore the first step is to choose a community.

Data about many communities may come from a single contributor. TVM has a simple rule that all data must be associated with a place … and every place is permitted in the analysis framework.

If the community is already identified in the TVM system, there will be a certain amount of information already in the system. The “permanent” information should be correct … but in the event there are errors you may make “comments” suggesting the needed revisions. If the community is not yet in the TVM system you may add in as much of the usual permanent information as you want. There are paper forms to guide this, or the information can be submitted using a web form.

The initial goal is to get enough data so that a value balance sheet for the community will emerge. The first step is to have data about the “state” of the community. Resources and possibilities are assets … lack of resources and constraints are liabilities for the community.

1. What is the community identification?

There needs to be an easy way to identify the community … and at the same time unique. A common system is Country, State, City and Zip code commonly used in the USA or an equivalent for other countries. State may be Province in Canada or County in the UK. Zip code may be Post code or similar in other jurisdictions.

2. What is your relationship to this community?

What is your relationship to this community? This community might be the community where your family has its roots, or one where you have spent some time at some point in your life, or one that you find interesting for any of many reasons. It is useful for the relationship between you and the community to be identified. Providing data about many different communities is fine. Many people know something about a community because it is where they grew up, others know the community because they lived and worked in it at some point in their lives. People who visit as tourists or on a business trip learn things about the community that add to the data. Some people have data and need data because they are engaged in the work of helping the community to progress.

More easy data about the community

What are some main facts of importance?

Many little facts rapidly define the community … from which the state of the community may be understood. Over time the state changes and the progress of the community may be understood … and then some analysis of the data and the performance may be understood. Some questions:

1. Where is the community?

Where is a bigger question than a set of geographic coordinates … though these give a precise location that is useful for a computer. Some of the questions that are included in “where” include (1) Where is about how far a community is from other places; (2) Where is about the weather associated with a place like this; and (3) Where is something about the topography and the values or dangers associated with the topography.

2. What is most important in this community?

There are some things that stand out about a community … that should therefore be known without much data and without much analysis. If you know anything about the community, you will know these things!

3. What are the community's strengths … good points?

These are the community's strengths … good points … the things the community can build on to improve itself.

4. What are the weaknesses … bad points?

These are the things that a community has to handle in order to improve itself! Which of these are in the control of the community and which are controlled externally.

5. How big is the community?

There are several different ways to measure the size of the community: (1) What is the population; (2) What is the geographic area; and (3) What is the “economic product”. The size of the population of the community … and the make-up of the population is a big element in the computation of need, and in the computation of resources, that is, the human resource asset.

6. What are the main economic activities in the community?

A rural community may well have agriculture as a major sector, while an industrial city may have manufacturing as a major sector. Other cities might identify technology, or education or medical research as major sectors or economic activities. Economic activities are the drivers of the community … they are where wealth is created for the community … or not.

7. What are the socio-economic assets of the community?

This should start with the human resource … and depends on the level of education and the skill sets of the population. The assets of the community include: (1) Human resources; (2) Natural resources; (3) Organizations; (4) Infrastructure; and (5) Production

8. What are the main constraints?

What socio-economic assets are missing. What bad things are present in the community such as (1) Insecurity … crime; (2) Inappropriate governmental interventions.

9. What seem to be the top five priorities

Write down the top five initiatives that will improve the quality of life in the community … preferably matters that can be done locally and quickly. The goal is to find actionable initiatives that have the potential to improve matters … and to obtain some simple data that shows two key facts about the initiatives: (1) how much resources were used; and (2) how much benefit was created. In this process it should become possible to identify what it is important for the community, and what is not.

Digging deeper … about progress

Progress is improvement in the quality of life … improving opportunity … making a sustainable future more likely … satisfying more needs … being more secure … and others

1. What is most important in this community?

Take these important items and see what is known about this items in the past. Is there progress? Are things getting better or not? What are the issues that need to be addressed.

2. What are the community's strengths … good points?

Do the same

3. What are the weaknesses … bad points?

Do the same … are bad points being addressed?

4. How big is the community?

Focus specifically on the population. Is the population growing or declining. Is there inward migration or outward migration? What changes are there in the profile of the population. This might lead to analysis of health, education and employment opportunities.

5. What are the main economic activities in the community?

A rural community may well have agriculture as a major sector, while an industrial city may have manufacturing as a major sector. Other cities might identify technology, or education or medical research as major sectors or economic activities. Economic activities are the drivers of the community … they are where wealth is created for the community … or not.

6. What are the socio-economic assets of the community?

Comparing these over time provides a lot of information about community progress. The assets of the community include: (1) Human resources; (2) Natural resources; (3) Organizations; (4) Infrastructure; and (5) Production. What are the activities that have caused material changes.

7. What are the main constraints?

Compare these over time and reasons for socio-economic performance becomes apparent. What changes have there been around the bad things in the community such as (1) Insecurity … crime; (2) Inappropriate governmental interventions; etc.

8. What seem to be the top five priorities

What has been done in the past to address the top five priorities that have been identified … or is it nothing. If it is nothing, what are the constraints.

Data … simple analysis

Needs, resources and constraints

Needs are driven by the people … basic needs are universal, but other needs are determined by socio-economic standing, by culture and a variety of other determinants. Basic needs must be satisfied for people to live. Higher level needs and wants are based on a variety of quality of life considerations. Most needs are satisfied by the workings of a functioning sustainable economy … the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith, and the efficiency of a working market economy. Needs are satisfied by the purchase of goods and services in a marketplace. Much of the global economy functions with markets using money as a medium of exchange.

But there is a critical assumption inherent in this which is that the buyers have money to buy and the sellers have products and services to sell and there can be an equilibrium between the parties. The market system breaks down when those with needs do not have money … and the system breaks down when the suppliers do not have products and services that are affordable. A more comprehensive market mechanism is needed that links needs with suppliers that can satisfy needs.

The resources and socio-economic activities of the community should satisfy the needs of the community … but clearly have not done so in the poor communities around the world. In many cases the shortage of resources is not the issue, but how the resources are being used. There may be a shortage of available resources even when there are abundant resources but in the control of people and organizations that do not allow their use for community benefit?

Other constraints relate to the capacity of people in the community to participate fully in economic activity. Are there deficits in health and education that constrain performance? Are there limitations in all the asset classes of the community balance sheet that constrain performance? Are there externalities that constrain community performance?

Data will help and simple analysis and connecting the dots along the lines below:

  1. What is the need for food?
    Where does food come from? Is it local agriculture, agricultural products from another part of the country or imported products.
  2. What is the need for water?
    What is the source of water and how accessible is it?
  3. What is the need for sanitation?
    What toilets and waste disposal is available?
  4. What is the need for shelter … housing?
    What is the state of housing?
  5. What is the need for healthcare?
    What is the state of healthcare? What clinics and hospitals? What staff? What medicines and cold chain?
  6. What is the need for education?
    What is the state of education? What schools? What teachers? What supplies?
  7. What is the need for religious organizations?
    What churches, synagogues, mosques, temples? What staff? What programs?
  8. What is the need for youth activities?
    What youth programs?
  9. What is the need for entertainment?
    What entertainment facilities and events?
  10. What is the need for hotels and restaurants?
    What exists?
  11. What is the need for transport?
    What exists?
  12. What is the need for road infrastructure?
    What exists? How long does it take to get to various places?
  13. What is the need for energy?
    Whats are the sources?
  14. What is the need for jobs
    What jobs exist? What jobs exist but not for the people and skill sets that are available?
  15. What is the need for elder care?
    What support services exist?
  16. What seem to be the top five priorities

What has been done in the past to address the top five priorities that have been identified … or is it nothing. If it is nothing, what are the constraints.

Data are powerful when they are well organized … and when there is a structure for the data to be used. The socio-economic system is complex even at the community level. Rigorous data about people that have needs, resources that may or may not be used to satisfy needs and all sorts of constraints is an impossible dream … but enough data to improve decision making and stop gross misallocation of resources is perfectly feasible. Improved data and the organization of data to inform decision making and public accountability is the basis for an important paradigm change.

Time and place information

A piece of information that lacks time and place information has very little utility. When the place stays the same, and information about the place changes over time, there are is data that show trend. Very simple … very basic … very powerful.

Make notes … time and place

The Upper East Side in New York City is a wealthy community by almost any measure … but not immune to economic events. Madison Avenue, one of the prime retail locations in the world, there are empty storefronts where retail businesses have folded and not been replaced by others. Few businesses are seeking these prestigious expensive locations. The situation is very different in 2010 than it was in 2007 before the real estate and banking sectors imploded.

Commuting At what point does congestion make a commute 3 hours and not 1 hour … each way? At what point do fuel costs make the commute too expensive? At what point are mass transit fares too high to be affordable?

Acquiring Data About Organizations

What organizations operate where?

And what do they do?

There is surprisingly little information about what organizations operate where … but recent improvements in technology are making it possible to improve this significantly, and this will enable TVM analysis.

Contributors can help by providing simple data based on their knowledge and observances.

Part of the TVM data are (1) the simple list: “What organizations are in the community and what do they do?” and, (2) an expanded list: “What were these organizations like in the past … is the impact better or worse now compared to the past?”

If the organization want to participate

Extending Corporate Social Responsibility

If the organization wants to participate there are some simple data and dataflows that would be very useful. Most organizations have considerable data about what they are doing, but usually not well organized to present as a set of value reports nor with any analysis relevant to community reporting.

What is the business model for the organization … in other words how does it earn its money? This may be quite well organized since it is related to the money accounting.

Usually less organized, is the value proposition for the organization. What is the “purpose” of the organization beyond just being in existence to make money profit. What value does the organization consume? What value does the organization create. The money profit may approximate to the money value adding of the organization … but what else does the organization achieve.

These data should be part of a dataflow from a participating organization into the TVM community database.

There are various ways to help. One is to help so that key people in the organization understand the goals of the TVM initiative and how to participate.

If the organization does not want to participate

If you are employed by an organization, we do not want to encourage you to share “insider secrets” and confidential information … but we would like to get help with data that are public knowledge but not easily accessible without considerable research and effort … and usually with considerable delay.

Typically an organization knows where it is operating … and this very simple information helps in the TVM framework because much of the analysis and study is to do with the place and what is going on in the place.

Some organizations are proud of what they are doing to help communities … and this information if often publicized in internal literature but not visible to TVM. The TVM data wants to be more than just the “one story and picture” that gets into an article, but something that is more substantive. Some big corporate organizations have of profit, but the value data that they publish suggests that this dimension of their work is tiny … though not explicitly stated anywhere in the reporting.

Big business and its impact

Some big organizations will not want to have anything to do with the TVM initiative. Accordingly TVM has been designed so that organizations that do not want to be active are included anyway in the assessment of the state, progress and performance of the community … so while it is good to have the participation of big organizations it is not needed.

In due course there will be utility for a big business to have their value performance assessed favorably and for this performance to be accessible to the interested public. Big business needs investors, staff, and customers … not to mention the approval of authorities to carry on their business and favorable value assessment should be woth something. For some business organizations, they may prefer that their value performance is unreported and inaccessible … their choice!

Ordinary people may submit information about what they see of the organization … and this information will be aggregated so as to give a picture of all the elements that impact on community state, progress and performance.

Not for profits … their impact

Are you part of a church … religious organization?

Churches … religious organizations have to pay attention to a money budget, their revenues and their expenses. There is normally a struggle to keep the money accounts in balance and pay all the bills. But that is not the main business of the organization … a church, and other religions have, as their main business, something to do with faith and spirituality. It seems that every society gets value from a religion … and it is the value of the activities of the religious organization that is important, and not the money budget. What is the value being delivered by a church, a synagogue, a temple, a mosque, a pagoda? It is big, but it is not part of the economic statistics of society … which does not make a whole lot of sense.

Value in the church I know that value is not part of the financial report of my church … but I also know that the work done by the priests has inestimable value. It is hardly recognized by most of the congregation most of the time … including me! When I was in hospital … the priests were there. When people are in trouble … the priests are there. This has value … way more than the money flows of the church. The church rituals are available for every important family event … births, weddings, sickness and death … huge values and huge contributors to quality of life.

Acquiring Data About Activities

Without activities there is no progress

What is going on in your neighborhood?

A simple list about the activities that are going on in your neighborhood tells a lot about the neighborhood … and maybe has the clues to what could be done so that the place could have a better quality of life. Simple questions and simple answers can be the basis for some strong analysis

  1. What is the nature of the activity
    Describe the activity … what is it trying to do? What is the need being satisfied and what are the resources being deployed?
  2. Where is it … what is the address?
    What is the source of water and how accessible is it?
  3. What organization is doing the work?
    What toilets and waste disposal is available?
  4. What benefit for the community?
    What is the benefit to the community … what does the activity try to do to bring benefit to the community?
  5. What is the benefit to the organization?
    Is the benefit for the community or is the benefit only for the organization?
  6. What staff are employed?
    Who is employed … with what skills … at what wage rates and benefits?
  7. What equipment is deployed?
    What equipment … owned by whom … at what price?
  8. What negative impact on the area?
    What was planned … what was agreed … what has happened?
  9. How long has this been going on for?
    What progress is being made?
  10. When will the activity end?
    Will the activity have achieved its goals/
  11. What value chain impact is associated with this activity?
    Maybe this activity is very good for the organization … but not very good at all for the community!

Maybe nothing is going on in your neighborhood … and maybe this is good. If your neighborhood has a great quality of life, why would you want to change anything? The idea that there are “no activities” is a data point!

But it still makes sense to be observant … and maybe think a little beyond what might be only superficial tranquility. Maybe the neighborhood is a prosperous suburban community … a commuter community. The community is stable not because of its inherent local resources, but because of the population's income and the value chain of business that is at the other end of the daily commute. The community has a quality of life that suits the residents … but might be value destroying in a broader context.



The text being discussed is available at
SITE COUNT<
Amazing and shiny stats
Blog Counters Reset to zero January 20, 2015
TrueValueMetrics (TVM) is an Open Source / Open Knowledge initiative. It has been funded by family and friends. TVM is a 'big idea' that has the potential to be a game changer. The goal is for it to remain an open access initiative.
WE WANT TO MAINTAIN AN OPEN KNOWLEDGE MODEL
A MODEST DONATION WILL HELP MAKE THAT HAPPEN
The information on this website may only be used for socio-enviro-economic performance analysis, education and limited low profit purposes
Copyright © 2005-2021 Peter Burgess. All rights reserved.