Michael Porter leads The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness and is a respected Harvard Business School professor. He has been acknowledged as the most influential living management thinker. Professor Porter’s work on Institutional structures for rural economic development and his work on regional clusters is of particular [and critical] interest to many clients and stakeholders.
Professor Porter’s most recent work [ The Social Progress Index ] is worthy of your time and consideration. The second report  has just been released.
According to the Social Progress Imperative website:
The Social Progress Imperative (SPI) is changing the way we solve the world’s most pressing challenges by redefining how the world measures success and putting the things that matter to people’s lives at the top of the agenda.
The Social Progress Index [SPI] incorporates four key design principles:
Exclusively social and environmental indicators:
Outcomes, not inputs: [The weakness of GDP…]
Holistic and relevant to all countries: .
The project 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.
Australia – The Benefits and the Challenge
Australia’s ranking in the index is excellent, achieving a “very high social progress” . It ranks tenth [10th] overall with a score of 86.42 on the global scale.
The SPI report notes that overall, the findings from the top 10 reveal that there are strong models in the world for advanced social progress. Consistent strength in Basic Human Needs as well as several distinctive areas of strength in Foundations of Wellbeing and Opportunity are the key characteristics of this highest tier.
However, even the strongest countries in terms of social progress have unfinished agendas and areas for improvement. For example, nearly all these countries score low on Ecosystem Sustainability with an average score of only 66.08.
Each component of the framework comprises between three and five specific outcome indicators. The included indicators are selected because they are measured appropriately, with a consistent methodology, by the same organization, and across all (or essentially all) of the countries in their sample.
Of note, in the sixteen scorecard summary categories used to compare each country, Australia records three instances where it is greatly below [or a significant negative outlier] relative to other similar countries.
These three categories are:
- Access to Basic Knowledge
- Ecosystem Sustainability
As we consider public policy on Homelessness, Early Childhood Education and Climate, these structural deficiencies, as identified by the index should be carefully considered.
Australia and Poverty
Also of note in the report is the counter-point of GDP/Social Progress to the Poverty Rate. The top five scoring countries in the Social Progress Index (Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, and New Zealand) have poverty rates below 10.3%, whereas the bottom five countries in this group (Russia, Turkey, Mexico, Israel, and Greece) have poverty rates above 14%.
Australia’s poverty rate is equal to that of Russia’s, although better than Japan and the United States. English-speaking countries, exemplified by the United States and Australia, tend to have higher poverty alongside higher social progress. Japan conforms to this pattern as well.
- Social Progress Imperative
- Social Progress Index – Explore Data
- Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness