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Outcome Indicators for Cities

200+ indicators to help you deliver results that matter

Rita Golstein-Galperin
Rita Golstein-Galperin
August 2, 2022

How do you know your city is making any real progress? Outcome indicators are at the core for strategic planning. They help us know what to focus on. But - sometimes it's easier said than done, defining outcomes can be a huge challenge.

To make things a little easier, we have compiled about 200 indicators sorted into 18 fields to help you choose the right outcomes. Aggregating indicators from 5 cities and 3 international organizations - we believe this can take cities a step forward:

Access the database by clicking here

We invite you to add comments on the indicators in the empty cell next to each one (be sure to leave your name and position) and feel free to suggest new indicators!

Ok, so why a database?

In the past year, Insights has expanded its technology platform. Instead of just engaging with stakeholders, we strive to disrupt the way governments and cities do strategic planning. No more endless spreadsheets, with dozens of repetitive tasks that lead nowhere. Instead our solution reflects three fundamental shifts:

  1. Instead of a complicated strategic plan with many details - an interface that displays your key outcomes and plans in a way that is simple to follow.
  2. Instead of endless Excel reports - a quick online platform that celebrates successes and highlights areas of improvement. 
  3. Instead of a lengthy PDF document - a clean site that connects your community to successes and to open-ended questions.

But technology alone is not enough: The outcomes must be defined accurately - although our system looks amazing :), promoting real change is a challenge and focusing on the “right” things is hard to to do That’s why we’ve prepared a database to get you started: some concrete examples of outcome indicators that will allow leaders to intuitively understand the difference between output and outcome and various indicators that might be relevant for your city/ department.  

What's in the database?

In order to build the database, we compiled together indicators from  various cities around the world:: City of San Francisco, City of New York, City of Copenhagen, The City of London and the City of Ashdod. We have supplemented these with additional indicators that correlate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the OECD Better Life Index and the EU Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities. Some indicators were added from our own experience over the years  helping formulate outcome indicators for government ministries in Israel, the Tel Aviv Municipality, and Jerusalem Municipality. Afterwards, we sifted through the outputs and defined about200 outcome indicators in 18 fields.

Strategic Planning: the Next Generation 

Strategic planning has become a huge pain for public organizations. Management has invested hundreds of hours in writing elaborated and robust plans, an inefficient use of their valuable time. We offer a better approach that simplifies the process for everyone involved. 

"If you don't know where you're going, it doesn’t matter which path you take."  (Lewis Carroll, "Alice in Wonderland")

We identified 5 important methodological tweaks you can make in the process to see better results: 

Focus: Instead of hundreds of goals, objectives, and tasks - Define 5-10 main goals alongside the outcome indicators, and focus on key changes designed to achieve them. 

Success: Instead of focusing exclusively on planning, we suggest managers celebrate their success - more support, fewer complaints. 

Experience: Instead of a complicated process that creates a frustrating user experience (for planners, employees, and certainly the public), we offer a digital interface that ensures a modern and user-friendly experience. 

Connection: Instead of creating complex plans that make people feel detached,  we believe that it is right to create a planning process that connects the community and brings departments and constituents together.

Efficiency: the golden standard (adopted by the OECD, American GPRA and the Israeli Government Planning Guide as well) has created a process for three levels of planning: Goals-Outcomes (Level1); Objectives-Outputs (Level2); Tasks-Organization (Level3).

Where do we go from here?

The whole idea of the planning process is essentially effectiveness: The ability to define desired outcomes and understand “what works?” to reach them.

Organizations invest a great deal of time and resources in driving the process. We offer a more efficient and effective alternative: defining strategic goals quickly and forming outcome-oriented plans to maximize your potential - and to continue celebrating achievements. 

The Outcome Indicators Database is designed to assist you in the most important phase of strategic planning. The examples are a way to get you started on a journey to create better plans and execute them. 

The 200 indicators are intended to help you better distinguish between outputs and outcomes and get inspired by some of the results-oriented indicators used by cities around the world. 

Got intrigued?  happy to share more about our tech platform to help you manage the process: Defining strategic outcomes, sharing action plans, and reporting results, while keeping everyone aligned and engaged in the process.

Outcome Indicators for Cities Rita Golstein-Galperin
Rita is a senior practitioner in the fields of public policy and innovation. She joined Insights to support international business development