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Measuring social value: your MVP may not be what you think…


finding your mvp means accurately measuring social valueKobe Bryant, one of the most celebrated basketball players in the NBA, is the leading scorer for the Los Angeles Lakers. But is he actually their most valuable player? 

Not according to a recent study.  A player's rebounds, field-goal percentages, and turnovers -- in addition to points scored -- together are most valuable in producing wins. And on this composite metric -- "wins produced" -- Bryant ranks third on his team for the regular season. 

"Points scored" could well be an analog for "money spent," "hours invested," or "beneficiaries served" in the world of philanthropy -- i.e., necessary, but insufficient measures for determining your most (socially) valuable programs. Rather, consider what other elements -- such as change in learning, attitudes, and behavior among beneficiaries -- that are required for accurately measuring the social value ("wins produced") you seek.

You may find a new favorite program -- or ways to improve those that you're already committed to.

true impact


Fascinating! As a big baseball fan, my interest in metrics has introduced me to sabermetrics, which includes a stat called Wins Above Replacement (WAR) - essentially, how many wins a player contributes to a team above and beyond what a replacement-level player would contribute; this sounds very similar. I had to check out the link to see how they took into account assists (they're Kobe's "saving grace"), because I believe they're a huge factor in making a team successful (read: Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd). It'd be great to find ways to measure this in business; until then, we'll have to remember the lesson from this article: don't be fooled by results, dig deeper and look at the process that produced those results!
Posted @ Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:00 PM by Matt Tucker
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