Goodhart’s Law and DICE™

Goodhart’s Law states, “every measure which becomes a target becomes a bad measure,” and rings especially true when examining large-scale interventions.

The risk of overly optimizing resources for singularly-focused initiatives, like a city heavily investing in a specific program as the primary designated solution to an identified problem, lies in losing the ability to accurately assess the impact over time. This is because processes become tailored to success metrics defined by external interventions, often not intrinsically aligned with the outcomes you want to prioritize.

Data-informed community engagement is a process for crime prevention that has proven successful but requires a nuanced understanding. The representative model of DICE™ incorporates individual competing interests as natural constraints. Rather than these interests becoming roadblocks to progress they fuel collaboration, introducing a healthy stress that prevents stagnation and encourages continuous iteration.

Success with DICE™ is rooted in its adaptability, utilizing Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) analytics to spark local decisions that maximize existing resources effectively. In contrast to traditional approaches where selecting a single strategy defines success or failure, DICE™ acknowledges that the process itself becomes the strategy. The constant evolution of repeatable small successes and “failing forward” ensures that the effort remains dynamic, adjusting to address the most critical issues in the community. DICE™ embraces dynamism and changes in priorities and intervention activities over time. Sustainability lies in its principled flexibility.

Furthermore, DICE™ goes beyond the idea of multiple stakeholders merely acting as “guard rails.” Instead, each stakeholder plays a role in claiming success in outcomes. They aren’t forced to relinquish credit for another organization’s efforts, nor shoulder the blame for choosing a single response to crime problems identified years ago. DICE™ allows them to adapt in the moment, preventing a zero-sum game where success for one entity translates to failure for another. DICE™ ensures a more collaborative and sustainable approach to community problem-solving and public safety.

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