Just because we can’t measure it, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

I’ve been doing quantitative, pseudo-quant, and qualitative evaluations of my interactive software projects since the mid-90s. I’ve designed health games that were evaluated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and a new health game I recently designed to help children with severe anxiety will be evaluated quantitatively in an RCT by the NIH starting this fall.

But when you focus on measuring success, you often tend to focus on those challenges that can be evaluated quantitatively. Quant results lead to publications and grants.

But let’s remember that most of the really important things in life:

  • the love of a partner, children, or parents
  • creative expression in all its forms — art, music, dance, and …
  • the awesome beauty of nature
  • the warmth of friendship and compassion
  • and (fill in your own phrase)

can’t be measured accurately with numbers.

As the drunk explains to a bystander why he’s looking for his car keys under the lit streetlight when his car is in the middle of the darkened block “because that’s where the light is.”

In our era of a quantified life enabled by the “glow” of big data, let’s not forget that the most important parts of living occur far away from the light of 1s and 0s.

Just because it can’t be measured, doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.