Jerry Muller is a professor of history at The Catholic University of America, where he has taught since 1984. His latest book is “The Tyranny of Metrics.” Quantifying metrics can be a good thing, however, it can easily go too far and have great consequences.
Jerry sees pitfalls of focusing too much on metrics everywhere – schools, hospitals, even venture capital. Children gear their learning toward beating a test rather than intellectually developing their mind. Doctors fixate on standardized performance measures, rewards and punishment, and publicized accountability. The system encourages and sometimes requires doctors to game the system. Venture capitalism, the very field where creativity should prosper, tends to foster an anti-creative atmosphere. Investors want to see data to back up a new product so they can see proof of a future profit. The problem? New innovations don’t have data because they have never been seen before in the marketplace.
Using metrics in schools, hospitals, and business can be extremely useful depending on what context it is used, but alone they are not enough. Human development as well as human experience should be weaved into the equation. Michael and Jerry finish the podcast up talking metrics in China, how it has lead to gaming the system and taken a toll on developing research.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Tyranny of metrics
Metrics in law enforcement
Metrics in health industry
Metrics in China