RELEASED TODAY: The Social Progress Index Tells Us Way More About Ourselves Than Just Social Progress
As Posted On LinkedIn:
Any of you that track economic development, and the trajectory of advancement around issues like human health, poverty and food security, should be familiar with the Social Progress Index. The Index, formulated in 2014 by the Social Progress Imperative, a brain child of famed Harvard mind Michael Porter, is used too measure and evaluate social progress in our global society on an annual basis. Considering to augment (or perhaps replace if some of us had our way) the current method for measuring social and economic advancement, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Social Progress Index defines social progress as "the capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens, establish the building blocks that allow citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential."
With its 2018 release today, one can see quite clearly that our path to 100% social progress and full, global potential, is somewhat far off. In fact our own country, one we consider quite advanced in terms of our ability to provide for its people, is ranked 25th. Looking at the results overall, of the 146 countries measured, only 15 have scores above 88. More than 100 are below 79. What this tells us is that we have a lot of work to do to move the needle on issues of importance to our global prosperity. Despite recent reports that poverty, for example, has improved, clearly issues like access to high quality education, technology, or even basic needs like shelter are not completely resolved. Prosperity must innovate along with the rest of development.
The Social Progress Index measures much more than economic prowess or opportunity for growth, however. Looking at issues like personal safety and nutrition along the same axis as access to information and communications, and personal freedom and choice, allows us to see bigger pictures of need. Take the United States for example. Our highest component scores? water, sanitation, nutrition, basic medical care and shelter. Our lowest? Access to advanced education, environmental quality, personal safety and inclusiveness. Our Foundations of Wellbeing Score? Only 84. Looking at the Netherlands, for comparison's sake, is interesting. Ranking in 7th place, the Netherlands had scores above 95 for Basic Human Needs and Foundation of Wellbeing, but only 79 for Opportunity.
Embarking on a path to address each country's needs is critical. The Social Progress Index allows us to unpack each country's most pressing challenges, and work collaboratively to solve them. We stand by to join forces with global companies, governments, entrepreneurs and civil society to collectively improve our planet, one social progress score at a time.