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01 Dec 2017

IBEST: Developing Indicators for Sustainable Well-Being

indicateurs de bien-être et de richesses soutenables

As businesses and societies around the world look for new means to evaluate success, the Grenoble metropolis has launched IBEST. This initiative aims to create indicators that will help measure sustainable well-being in the region. What is the goal of IBEST?

The project will identify well-being indicators that are sustainable and promote public good. The idea is to measure value at a regional level around the Grenoble metropolis. The study was created on the basis of an initial realization: "Numbers and figures are multiplying everywhere, in organizations and public politics. The result is an obsession for measuring performance that has led to negative effects and a loss of meaning for these indicators," explains e Fiona Ottaviani, a post-doctoral student at the Grenoble Ecole de Management Chair for Mindfulness, Well-Being at Work and Economic Peace.

With a background in economics and philosophy, Fiona highlights that IBEST first aims to find new methods for evaluating political initiatives in the city of Grenoble. "To accomplish this, the project had to create a set of 'sustainable well-being' parameters which can be applied to the scale of the Grenoble metropolis and include input from elected officials and business actors."

A new perspective on indicators

How can you change from traditional indicators, which can be highly sensitive and not necessarily measure actual well-being, to something that can effectively illustrate what actions are working in the region? "IBEST wants to go beyond traditional indicators such as measuring capital investments and CSP+- in order to produce positive indicators that can measure individual and group data in order to analyze overall well-being. This is why we launched a qualitative questionnaire throughout the metropolis. A second phase will include citizen participation in decision-making with input from elected officials and business actors. This is how we try to transition from individual well-being to initiatives that can provide sustainable common good." explains Fiona.

Eight dimensions of sustainable well-being

  • Work conditions: What factors contribute to a quality work environment? This focuses on the quality of relationships at work, interpersonal relationships, social justice, pay gaps and recognition at work.
  • Engagement and assertion: Through personal development and resources provided to individuals, each person will be able to participate at his or her level to improve the common good. At an individual level, these resources enable people to develop self-confidence, assert their position in society and engage in community life. The goal is to develop inner peace, peaceful relationships, and finally, economic peace.
  • Democracy and living together: This factor highlights the importance of trust in authorities and the health of relationships between all actors. This means understanding how people can count on others in various situations of difficulty.
  • Time and rhythm: This factor goes well beyond a region’s GDP in order to think about how we divide our time between work, hobbies and engagement in community life.
  • Access to fundamental needs: Food, healthcare, housing, minimum level of revenue…
  • Access and use of public services: This factor explores how people can access various social initiatives.
  • Health: This indicator evaluates individual stress levels at work and general health. Many people have to deal with a combination of stress and difficulty accessing treatment options.
  • Natural environment: This factor takes into account housing insulation, recycling, green transportation options, water and air quality, and the cleanliness of a neighborhood.

Overcoming a tradition of destructive business reasoning

"These indicators are a call for us to break down sector barriers and think in transversal terms according to the needs of each individual. This vision has to be applied to politics as well as businesses in order to develop initiatives that meet current societal and environmental needs. A transversal vision can only be made possible if we also set up tools to help share information and facilitate decision-making. It's about helping public and private organizations break away from the 'warrior' spirit and re-orient their vision to work towards economic peace. This will provide us with answers to overcome current and future challenges," underlines Fiona.