Mar 25 2019

Using a 10-capital Asset Map

Below is a recent exchange between Kevin Jones and Sean Esbjörn-Hargens that occurred in an online Slack channel as part of a 10-week online Master Course in Designing Wisdom Economies. The course focuses on measuring and growing 10 distinct types of capital. Sean is teaching the course and Kevin is one of the 40 participants.  Sean is working with Kevin and his team at Transform to weave in this multicapital thinking into the upcoming Transform event in May.

Tuesday March 12th2019

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens 

Here is a document from one of the MetaImpact case studies we have done. This is a 10-capital Asset Map (which is a kind of Topic Map) that can give people an illustrated example of how to begin to use a multicapital framework with their projects. We could even use this in the labs at Transform. Note: the capitals with turquoise headers are used to highlight the ones that are most important to the organization. Once these are identified then the next step is to identify various links between the capitals in order to identify high leverage points or key places of systemic intervention. 

Doing an Asset Map like this allows one to start to get a sense of the multicapital landscape of ones project/organization and then you can see where to focus and what kinds of metrics are being used or need to be used. One thing that often happens for people when they do the Asset Map is they are amazed at how much wealth they have across ALL the capitals. This first step/assessment often helps reset the thinking of the client or project leader and helps them to start thinking in an integrative multicapital fashion.

Kevin Jones

This Asset Map approach looks like very useful and relevant way of beginning to develop a multicapital approach to a given project thanks! What are the typical steps for filling out a blank version of this Asset Map?

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens 

Here is a simple step-by-step possibility – feel free to add to or adjust as needed/inspired: 

1. Take a blank Asset Map (download here).

2. Begin filling out as many of the 10 columns as possible with various examples of how that value/capital shows up in the project/organization (see example of Aletheia Springs for reference). Doing this with a team or others is often helpful because it tends to take the collective wisdom of the group to help identify all the ways value is present in the project. We have often lost our ability to see the value that we are surrounded by. Like fish in water we are swimming in it but can’t see it.

3. You can then transfer the bulleted lists on the Asset Map to a spreadsheet where you can add more details on what metrics (informal and formal) that you are using or could use to measure each bullet point e.g., Food at Café [from the Aletheia Springs example] could be measured by # of customers, # of organic options, # of locally sourced ingredients, gross/net revenue of the café, # of positive comments from customers, etc. So as you can see there are many possible ways to measure this – some metrics are more aligned with different capitals (Health, Financial, Social, Psychological etc).

4. Then you can begin to identify the links between each capital and the other capitals.

5. Lastly, you can review all of this and identify which of the 10 capitals are strongest, weakest, or most important to the project (e.g., the capitals with turquoise headers in the Aletheia Springs example). Usually 2-4 are sufficient to identify. 

This process allows one to start to:

1. See how your project actually is engaging in most if not all of the 10 capitals 

2. How you are informally and formally measuring these types of value 

3. So you can then decide where to focus energy and next steps