Metrics remain a source of EEUK Member frustrations (stemming from sector wide inconsistency of reporting due to lack of clear guidance and lack of auditing) and their recognition of the importance of metrics, tracking and data as critical, underpinning all of the wide range of roles that EEUK represents, and the work that they do.
The EEUK membership are informed by data, highly reliant on metrics and frustrated by their variable importance (in terms of sector-wide accuracy, impact, credibility, as well as institutional reward/return) and their own limited ability to report upon “what is important” – which is not just “business starts” – but culture change, learning, skill development and confidence, within a self-supporting eco-system. Within HE, a well thought out/considered decision “not to start” is as much a success for an individual or team as a “countable” ‘start-up’ and this positive impact, for individual, others, and culture, is not recognised in any significant way (skills development; confidence building or employability metrics or advancement). As the development of eco-systems and pipelines, that build the local community as well as the student population, remain uncounted and EEUK members remain frustrated that the spotlight of “counts” distorts activity, creating a conveyor belt mentality that fails to recognise the true value of the experience.
However, the EEUK membership welcome the statistics that demonstrate the impact of the work done, the change made and the celebrate the achievements of staff and students within the local community, the economy and beyond. Our members record, capture and count their engagement, involvement and interactions with employers, community groups, students, staff, and SMEs and want the complexity of this work to be captured. They appreciate that for every successful start-up, there is a pipeline of future (or even mid-life) entrepreneurs, side-hustlers and innovators entering the work force. We know that each “practice-pitch” builds high levels presentation/interview confidence, and that each team challenge creates opportunities for leadership, resilience and emotional intelligence that create examples for applications and interviewers. Attribution of these elements is extremely difficult, but that does not make it less important or impactful. This is the story that UK metrics needs to tell.
It is also acknowledged that elements that are counted create a spotlight of “over importance” on them, and knowing this should demand robust reporting, accountability, and clear guidance to support that. With no direct funding attached to metrics, there are no consequences to poor reporting, whether over or under, other than to those working in the sector and EEUK wishes to support the work of its membership through accurate, robust and comprehensive sector wider data.
As members, let us know your views so we can amplify your concerns.
Photo: Charles Deluvio – Unsplash