That is the title of a recent book by Clayton Christensen, an admired management guru. It’s a question (in slightly more modest form) I frequently ask.
I asked it when I was at the Telecom Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka: how could we measure what good we did? Result: Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment tool.
We ask it all the time at LIRNEasia. This has been one reason we’ve tried to develop internal competence in evaluation and welcomed opportunities to be evaluated.
But still the big question is the one Christensen asks. An unusual metric came to mind as I was reading about the untimely death of a scholar (he was 55) who I had met on a few occasions and whose work I was familiar with: Clifford Nass.
At the moment of writing, his obituary was the seventh most emailed news article on the New York Times. In the same way that we measure the efficacy of a conventional scholar by the citations that his/her work generates, should we not measure the efficacy of a policy-relevant scholar by indicators such as this?