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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 revolutionizes the solving of societal problems by enabling leaders to systematically identify and prioritize issues. The Social Progress Imperative’s network empowers leaders to convene all the right local actors, global partners, and subject-matter experts necessary to develop and deploy meaningful solutions. Together, the index and the network empower local actors to both identify shortcomings and deliver the solutions to improve them.
The Social Progress Index is the result of a two-year process guided by a team of scholars and policy experts. It synthesizes a huge body of research to identify the dimensions of social and environmental performance of societies. The Index incorporates four key design principles: 1. Exclusively social and environmental indicators: our aim is to measure social progress directly, rather than utilize economic proxies. By excluding economic indicators, we can, for the first time, analyze the relationship between economic development (measured for example by GDP per capita) and social development rigorously and systematically. Prior efforts to move “beyond GDP” have commingled social and economic indicators, making it more difficult to disentangle cause and effect. 2. Outcomes not inputs: our aim is to measure the outcomes that matter to the lives of real people. For example, we want to measure the health and wellness achieved by a country, not how much effort is expended nor how much the country spends on healthcare. 3. Actionability: the Index aims to be a practical tool that will help leaders and practitioners in government, business and civil society to implement policies and programs that will drive faster social progress. To achieve that goal, we measure outcomes in a granular way that links to practice. The Index has been structured around 12 components and 54 distinct indicators. The framework allows us to not only provide an aggregate country score and ranking, but also supports granular analyses of specific areas of strength and weakness. Transparency of measurement using a comprehensive framework helps change-makers identify and act upon the most pressing issues in their societies. 4. Relevance to all countries: our aim is to create a holistic measure of social progress that encompasses the health of societies. Most previous efforts have focused on the poorest countries, for understandable reasons. But knowing what constitutes a healthy society for higher-income countries is indispensable in charting a course to get there. These design principles are the foundation for our conceptual framework that defines social progress in an inclusive and comprehensive way. We define 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. This definition reflects an extensive and critical review and synthesis of both academic and practitioner literature in a wide range of development topics.