We all know now that real progress of a society or nation goes beyond just the quantitative assessment of gross domestic product. Progress has different meanings across different societies and what is important in one society may wary across societies. In an intertwined and globalized world like ours, it is thus essential to undertake a holistic debate about these issues with a view to learning from each other and to improve the overall well-being of our societies in ways that we consider as important and relevant for us. The underlying aim of the course, which has been developed in collaboration with the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), is to foster the development of sets of key economic, social and environmental indicators to provide a comprehensive picture of how the well-being of a society is evolving.This course and its online discussion forum will also act as a catalyst to encourage each participant to consider, in an informed way, the crucial questions: Is life getting better? Is our obsession with gross domestic product to measure progress of a society unhealthy and misleading? This course also seeks to encourage the use of indicator sets to inform and promote evidence-based decision-making, within and across the public, private and citizen sectors.
Last but not least, it is our hope that this course will create a greater awareness of the importance of statistics for democracy and democratic decision-making; provide measures of progress that go “beyond GDP”; bring forth tools to transform statistics into knowledge, evidence, civic engagement and policy making.