6 Steps to Building your Index

July 31, 2023
/ By

Composite indicators are a highly effective way to address complex issues and build compelling narratives based on evidence. By combining multiple metrics into a single score, composite indicators provide a comprehensive view of complex concepts, such as sustainability, innovation, and economic development.

As we continue to live in an age of exponentially increasing data, the opportunities to construct these tools are greater than ever before. Below we outline the key steps to building reliable composite indicators that provide novel insights and are highly utilizable for decision-making. 

1. Define the phenomenon you want to measure and objectives of your indicator

Start by defining the complex issue you want to measure and analyse. This will guide the selection of metrics; the index structure and the weighting scheme so make sure to make the definition as clear and as simple as possible. This will help not to get lost in the indicator jungle and ensure that the indicator captures what you intend to measure.

2. Choose your metrics

Selecting the right metrics is crucial to building a reliable composite indicator. Be sure to consider the quality, relevance, and availability of data sources, and identify metrics that represent different aspects of the concept being measured.

3. Design an index structure

Once you have selected your metrics, it's important to build an index structure that defines how the metrics will be combined. There are different methods for building index structures, including the arithmetic mean, geometric mean, and principal component analysis. The chosen method should reflect the objectives and priorities of the composite indicator.

4. Normalize your data

Data normalization is an essential step to ensure that all metrics are on the same scale. This allows you to compare and combine different metrics, which may have different units of measurement. The appropriate normalization method should be chosen to make the result interpretation as intuitive as possible 

5. Weight your metrics

Weights represent the relative importance of each metric in the composite indicator. Weighting schemes can be based on expert opinions, statistical methods, or a combination of both. The weighting scheme should reflect the definition and priorities of the composite indicator. 

6. Validate your composite indicator

Finally, it's essential to validate your composite indicator to ensure its reliability and robustness. This can be done by assessing its internal consistency, stability over time, and correlation with other relevant indicators.

Building composite indicators is a powerful way to measure complex phenomena and communicate these findings effectively. By following the steps above, you can leverage the abundance of data available to better understand and tackle the decision making in complex contexts.

If you need help in building an index or would like to know how to improve on it, get in touch.

Other Insights

Where are the women? Explaining the VC gender gap

Where are the women? Explaining the VC gender gap

Read full article >
Debunking 3 Common Misconceptions About Indices: The Truth Will Set You Free

Debunking 3 Common Misconceptions About Indices: The Truth Will Set You Free

Read full article >
How to Select Key Indicators for Foreign Investment Decision-making

How to Select Key Indicators for Foreign Investment Decision-making

Read full article >
The Secret to Effective Policy & Governance: Implementing Index-based Strategies

The Secret to Effective Policy & Governance: Implementing Index-based Strategies

Read full article >
5 Ways to use index results

5 Ways to use index results

Read full article >
5 Vital Indices Visionaries Should Pay Attention to

5 Vital Indices Visionaries Should Pay Attention to

Read full article >
Contact us

How can we help you?