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Future of work: Why you shouldn’t measure the impact of what you do

09 February 2016


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Stop measuring impact if you really want to make a positive change – and just do 
things that are self evident and big – advises the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus 
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab.

In his talk titled ‘Future of the Future’, Professor Nicholas Negroponte told the World 
Government Summit: “You do not have to measure the impact of what you do. 
Foundations and big organisations say they’re measurement based. 

“If somebody says to me they’re measurement based, that says to me they’re small. 
You don’t have to measure impact. You want to make impact that is so big it’s self-
evident.”

Negroponte added that problem solving needs to be more “meta”.

He elaborated: “Most people think about the problem. I [was taught] don’t think about 
the problem right away. Think about thinking the multiple ways to think about the 
problem. You can’t think about thinking unless you think about thinking about 
something.”

Meanwhile, the professor – who also founded the One Laptop per Child Association 
– said the new generation is being lead away from “meaningful lives”.

“I was brought up where civic society was the highest calling in life. In the past 30 
years I haven’t sensed that,” he said. “I haven’t heard a parent tell their child ‘join 
civic society’, because we’re telling our children ‘be business people, be an 
entrepreneur, get rich, and then maybe if you get rich soon enough then you can be 
a philanthropist being charitable.”