Things We Don’t Measure but Should
We often quantify sustainability progress with numbers: tons of CO2 emitted, pounds of waste recycled, gallons of water conserved. These statistics seem like an easy, clear way to get a snapshot of an institution’s past sustainability record. However, they don’t paint the whole picture when it comes to measuring the things that matter most for our future success. For example, how can a university or college measure what drives students to initiate energy reduction contests in their dorms? How do we measure the social influence of employees modelling and promoting environmentally-friendly behaviors, or faculty engagement in driving sustainability content into their classes? How does an institution measure its ability to encourage good ideas to develop and take root on campus?
Environmental impact reductions and cost savings are factors we are used to measuring. We have yet to even make the case, however, for measuring many of the things that will matter most to our future success. Social dynamics, emotional intelligence, engagement and idea flow, along with other metrics that address the "softer" side of organizational change capability, must be embraced as a necessary part of the complete metric picture–especially if we are to make better arguments for the resources and leadership support. Getting this right will be the difference between making our organizations aware of their environmental impact, and making sure our organizations are actually capable of and engaged in solving them.
Our closing plenary will be a TED-style panel featuring leaders who measure innovation, emotional intelligence and vibrancy. Join Erin Meezan, Vice President of Sustainability at Interface; Mary Spilde, President of Lane Community College; and James Ritchie-Dunham, President of the Institute for Strategic Clarity, as they share unique methods to measure impact.