Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Measuring Social Capital

Our interview with John Gardner (long mp3 file) as part of these case studies captured an interesting question from John regarding Social Capital -- he was interested in thinking about how to measure it (assessment being a driver to guide action).

Theron and I've been thinking about the question about the question.

Traditionally university extension has focused on getting knowledge from the university to the periphery, and we would have measured our capital by the success of that (mostly broadcast) model.

Web 2.0 has us thinking about how to also get the knowledge of the periphery in to the university, and measuring capital by two-way dialog.

I think John pointed to this in his talk (last December) to Crops and Soils Dept when he was exploring the implications of centrally produced ideas like Roundup Ready vs the understandings of local conditions (both growing conditions and human ecology).

Increasing sustainability seems to require increasing ability to adapt to niches, and that is likely to involve moving knowledge of successes from the periphery to other niches on other parts of the periphery. The university could play a role, but not likely a broadcast role (more like narrowcast) in this.

This does not answer the question of how to measure social capital, but does suggest that the measurement won't be based on Web 1.0 ideas

No comments: