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Lists of Lists

By on May 8, 2017

There’s more data available to us today than ever before. Making the data useful is a big challenge. One of the best ways to help organize and understand data can be through lists. But again, there are more lists of data than ever before. That’s a good thing…but not if you don’t know where or how to find them. Most of these lists are very useful and help me as a communicator get my job done. But a list is not an end in itself. We have to take the data and use it thoughtfully and insightfully as the powerful tool it can be.

So in an effort to share information (and start a conversation about the best lists out there), I have compiled a list of lists that I’ve found really helpful in my job as communicator in the international policy and development arena. And I challenge myself and all my fellow communicators to share their lists and to organize and share data in ways that are more easily readable, easily understandable, and easily sharable—and that help us get to one of the most important lists of all: the world’s to-do list.

I really like AidData – and the people behind it –  a development research lab at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s open data for international development and includes a section on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Even if it weren’t an initiative supported by the United Nations Foundation, I would include Data2X in this list. It’s a collaborative platform dedicated to closing the gender data gap in order to improve the lives of women and girls worldwide. If data isn’t from all of us, then data isn’t for all of us.

Fragile States Index
I love the Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index, now in its 12th year. It measures sovereign nations’ vulnerability to conflict or collapse in the hopes it will “spur conversations, encourage debate, and most of all, help guide strategies for sustainable security.”

Global Creativity Index
Although this was produced in 2015, I really like it. The Global Creativity Index ranks the world’s most creative countries and tells an interesting story about what’s going on where and why.

Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) from the UN Development Programme is woefully underutilized. It was created to emphasize that “people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.”

The People’s Report Card
The People’s Report Card from Global Citizen is powered by smart people and groups including the Social Progress Imperative and lets anyone check on whether their leaders are “living up to the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Politico Playbook Power List
This annual list from Politico names the major players in Washington, D.C. I find these kinds of lists helpful, even if they are always changing, as a way to learn about new people and ensure we are not just talking to ourselves, but meeting the people who are helping driving new thinking in a place like Washington, D.C. (Very curious to know which of these lists in other cities you find most useful!)

I recently discovered the group (and its clever site) called Richtopia, which has been very useful. It has many lists, such as the Top 200 Influential Do-Gooders in the World and the Top 20 Most Sustainable Multinational Corporations.

State of the World’s Mothers
This annual report from Save the Children has been produced since 2000. It ranks countries by the health and well-being of mothers and children. See some of the 2015 results here.

I have learned a lot from this community – and the site monitors digital diplomacy initiatives and includes lists like the 50 Most Effective International Organizations and the 50 Most Influential World Leaders on Social Media.

Those are a few of the lists that help me understand data, get a sense for trends and new ideas, and learn what’s up and coming in my field. What lists are you using? What have I missed? Let me know in the comments!

1 Comment
  1. Reply

    Chrysula Winegar

    May 8, 2017

    Leith Greenslade of Just Actions, has an annual index of mothers in positions of power across key sectors. Worth a look! I think the new one comes out this week. Last year’s is here: http://justactions.org/campaign/the-motherhood-public-power-index-2016/


Aaron Sherinian
Washington, DC

I am a Communicator, Dad and Global PR guy who is inspired by the fascinating people in my life. I love the challenges that a new world of communications means for those of us who work across borders and time zones to try and create powerful conversations that will make the world a better place.