Goals for a Technology Healthy Community

These are the initial set of goals that have guided the City's measures, research and some of our strategies to foster digital opportunities and equity.  They were originally developed in 2000 with a wide range of business, technology, education, community, social service and government stakeholders.  Following this are the Principles and Criteria used to develop the Information Technology Indicators.

Goals for a Technology Healthy Community

The City and people of Seattle want to build a technology healthy community where information and communications technology:

  • enhances our local economy
  • furthers educational opportunities
  • is applied to solving social issues
  • is used to foster civic participation
  • promotes relationship building and community development
  • supports the sustainability of our quality of life, and
  • is affordable and distributed equitably.

This is a summary of goals for appropriate and healthy use of information technology. These were developed from the values arrived at by those participating in our Indicators project development. For a full list of the values and concerns discussed see the public forum values on the InternetArchive for the old web site.


Principles and Criteria

These were the principles and criteria used to develop the IT indicators:

Principles for Indicator Development

  1. Use existing data as much as possible
  2. Reevaluate underlying assumptions in the data and indicator concept
  3. Integrate long-term focus with short-term change
  4. Relate indicators to appropriate reference point (individual, dollar, community, population (eg 1,000))
  5. Identify direction of progress
  6. Present indicators as a whole system
  7. Determine linkages

Criteria for Indicators

Reflect community values. The crucial role of indicators is communication. Perhaps more important than providing data, indicators illustrate community values and elicit reactions. Good indicators are expressed in imaginable, not eye-glazing numbers, and resonate with the intended audience.

Relevant. They fit the purpose for measuring, telling you something about the system you need to know.

VALID. Understandable rationales exist for using the specific indicator and for drawing general conclusions from it. Test questions: Is the indicator truly measuring what it is meant to measure, and not a by-product? Is the indicator well-grounded and founded in fact? Can you support, defend and justify it in logical or scientific terms?

Statistically measurable. Data exist that are relevant to this geographic area, and preferably comparable to other cities, counties or communities. If data are not readily available, a practical method of data collection or measurement exists or can be created.

CREDIBLE. Even a valid indicator may strike the public as "incredible," for example, if the data source has a particular reputation in the community. Test questions: Is the indicator believable in the eyes of the community participants who selected it, as well as to the community at large? Does the data source for each indicator help reinforce credibility or detract from it?

Reliable. You must be able to trust what the indicator shows. For example, a gas gauge that shows it is half full when it is really empty may cause you to run out of gas in an inconvenient place. In addition, indicators should be measured consistently over time, so that you have comparable data.

Leading. Indicators must give you information while there is still time to act.

CONNECT WITH VISION AND VALUES. Does the indicator relate to the vision that stakeholders hold for the future of the community? Is there a vision statement that can be used as a reference?

FOCUS ON RESOURCES AND NEEDS. Many measurement tools highlight only community deficits. They position the community to react to shortcomings without also focusing on assets that can and should be strengthened and enhanced. Are there indicators in the set that highlight what is working in the community?

BE CREATIVE AND ACTION-ORIENTED. The indicators will need to be "marketed" to have broad-based effect. Creativity, both in the selection of indicators themselves and in the presentation of the indicators, will aid in their being noticed and used. Will the indicators selected illustrate efforts made to improve the community?

Attractive to local media. The press publicizes them and uses them to monitor and analyze community trends.