Open Data for Measuring Social Progress


Is there more to progress than simply growing the economy? How can open knowledge help us to measure progress better? Fuelled by the growing availability of data and theoretical concepts that call for a wider definition of human development beyond conventional measures such as income or GDP, The measurement of social progress and human development has seen rapid advances. Academics and policymakers are relying increasingly on more sophisticated “composite indices” to compare the performance of cities, regions and countries. So far, however, the public has remained a passive “consumer” of such indices. This session explores how open data and collaborative approaches can help create new metrics, as well as improve existing metrics of well-being. Bringing together speakers from the cutting-edge of academia, policy and civil society, this session aims for a creative discussion about how technology and openness can help redefine the very concept of progress.

Session Host

Guo Xu, London School of Economics and OKFN Open Economics Working Group, @misologie,


* Robin Houston, Developer of Guerdian’s Rio+20 Better or Worse / @robinhouston

* Vincent Finat-Duclos, Statistical editor / OECD Better Life Index @twitvfd

* Guo Xu, OKFN Open Economics / London School of Economics and Political Science @misologie

* Dirk Heine, OKFN Open Economics / Core Team

* Dr. Ulla Rosenström, Finnish Prime Minister’s Office


Guo Xu is a development economist and member of the OKFN’s Open Economics Working Group. He is interested in the role of technology and open data in fostering development. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics.

Dr. Ulla Rosenström is a Senior Adviser at the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office. She currently leads the development of well-being indicators for Finland as part of the Government Future Report. She takes part in the monitoring of the implementation of the Government Programme and contributes to the development and content of the national She also runs the national indicator expert network. An expert in the development and presentation of sustainable development indicators, Dr. Rosenström has conducted pioneering work on the researching the use of sustainable development indicators. Before her current position, she worked over ten years for the Finnish Environment Institute. Besides being responsible for the national SDI programme, she has taken part in several international working groups in her field.

Vincent Finat-Duclos is a Statistics Editor in the Publishing department of OECD. He has a degree in Applied Mathematics from the Paris Dauphine University and several years of experience as a business analyst prior to joining the Organisation. For the past five years he has been working in website and database management and publishing statistics. As a Statistics Editor, his main focus is on producing new statistical outputs which are more accessible to the user who is not necessarily an expert in statistics and technology.
Robin Houston is interested in using the web to inform and empower people, especially finding ways to take advantage of new technology to that end. He currently works for and He has been involved in Guardian’s Rio+20 Better or Worse application as well as

Dirk Heine is a member of the OKFN’s Open Economics Working Group and has been involved in creating Yourtopia. He works as a fiscal economist and has a particular interest in environmental economics. Particularly in the crisis, he believes that we need to increase the accessibility of socio-economic indicators through greater openness and tools for their wide-spread analysis in order to build consensus for deep policy changes toward sustainable policy. With a personal background of 13 years NGO-work in eight countries, he is furthermore keen to support finding new ways for more innovative web-based cross-country teamwork. ”


Location: Hack Cinema 1

Date & Time: Fri 21, 11:30 – 13:00

Target Group: Anyone interested in the topic

Topic Stream: [Open knowledge and Sustainability](

Session Etherpad page: [link](