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Date: 2022-08-12 Page is: DBtxt003.php bk0008040-v2019
Burgess Book Manuscript
Basic Concepts for TrueValueMetrics
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Chapter 8 ... Using True Value Metrics
8-4 Data About People

Building Data About People

People have many different roles

People are the most interesting dimension of almost anything. In the case of TVM there are many different roles that people play. Sorting this out is a big challenge. The focus of media has been mainly stars and scandal … preferably together. There is a lot of coverage of high profile people, often doing outrageous things and little or no coverage of people doing things that are really worthwhile.

In the TVM structure there are people who are helping to make TVM successful … people who have joined TVM and are contributing data to the system. Another group are the people who are making decisions … allocating resources and are in the TVM framework because they should be subject to performance accountability and maybe complimented on good performance or asked to explain themselves. Many people making big decisions are hiding behind organizational structures … but these links have to be understood and on the record. All of this gets completely overwhelming unless there is a community focus … but also a way to link impact at the community level with external decisions and the people responsible for them.

A further group are those that are doing things … the activities in the community and need to be known so that their performance might be enhanced with help. Many good people are doing good things without anyone knowing who they are, what they are doing and how many people they are helping. TVM wants to move beyond the few dozen people that are internationally recognized to the millions of people working at the community level and presently unknown., unhelped in their work, and unrecognized for what they are achieving.

People … the key resource

People are the key to success. Nothing of any substance will be accomplished without the right set of people working for success. People need to get “organized” rather like the data needed to be organized … by sector within community. A people team is needed for each community, with people in the team having an ability to understand data from a variety of sectors. Data about people is a starting point.

Getting the right people involved is best done as an organic process … not something that is mechanical. Some people can work together … others cannot. The best team will not necessarily come together in the first attempt … in fact the first team may turn out to be totally ineffective. If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again!

Building data about people and organizations

People and organizations are a focal point that determines the success or failure of a community.

Knowledge about people has varying levels of depth and different perspectives … thus for example, there will be people who have a high profile in the community, are engaged in its activities, but have nothing to do with the TVM initiative. There will also be people who are contributing data about the community who do not have a high profile, but are invaluable to the success of the TVM initiative … and yet again there will be others who have a low profile and are doing amazing things for the community in a very quiet way that nobody knows about.

There will also be something similar for organizations. Some well known organizations will not want to cooperate with an initiative like TVM, and others that will. There will be organizations that essentially exploit the community and give little back … and there will be other organizations that make contributions to the local economy in all sorts of ways.

The aim here is to get enough data so that the “state” of the community is well documented … with as many important facts about the community as possible.

Who make decisions … who are responsible?

This is a big question … and the easy answer may not be the right answer! The performance of a community depends on a lot of factors … and who is responsible usually cannot be answered with a single simple answer.

The head of a government structure … or the head of a tribe … is usually not the correct answer to the “who is responsible?” question. Usually there is some sort of collective responsibility with nobody really responsible for either success or failure!

Data do not answer this question directly nor immediately … but they help. The analysis of data may start to show where there are problems and constraints and where there is success and progress. The data may also start to show what people and organizations are connected to good things and what people and organizations are connected to bad things. Some of this is obvious … some is subtle. Some will matter a lot … be material … and some will not be particularly important.

Organizing local teams to deploy TVM

A data team for the community should be established as soon as possible … as soon as there is some basic knowledge about the profile of people and organizations. It is important that the data team are independent with respect to the data that are compiled … though it is likely that members of the data team will have some important affiliations that could influence their perspectives. There needs to be vigilance that the data are not distorted because of the affiliations of members of the data team.

Everyone can contribute data. Every community has people … activists who want to change things more to their liking. Sometimes activists become community leaders, and sometimes activists remain independent of the decision making process and the allocation of resources. Everyone can help to get FACTS on the record so that: (1) there can be better decision making; and, (2) there can be more accountability concerning the decisions that get made and the activities that consume resources.

Building a network of local data users is important. People and organizations are usually not enthusiastic about data that makes them accountable … but they welcome data that makes them look good. The whole purpose of TVM is to facilitate socio-economic progress and performance and this requires that socio-economic actors use the data so that they not only look good, but deliver high productivity progress!.

Building a network of local data analysts is way better than having remote academic analysis. The more local people become involved in the analysis of the data, the more useful the data will become. Analysis should serve a variety of purposes including identification of the activities that work and those that do not, and identification of people and organizations that contribute to the community and those that do not. This is not about politics and ideology … but about data and facts about progress and performance.

Who are the best people?

It depends … the best people usually part of a team where there are people having a variety of unique competences. They are better than a set of people who all know the same thing and only have one modus operandi or agenda. The key is to have a set of people who can together make efficient progress with limited resources.

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