The Gross Developmental Potential (GDP2)

A New Approach for Measuring Human Potential and Wellbeing

Published in: BMC Public Health, Volume 22, Article Number 1626 (2022). doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-14030-x

Posted on RAND.org on September 02, 2022

by Neal Halfon, Anita Chandra, Jill S. Cannon, William Gardner, Christopher B. Forrest

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Many factors influence the health and well-being of children and the adults they will become. Yet there are significant gaps in how trajectories of healthy development are measured, how the potential for leading a healthy life is evaluated, and how that information can guide upstream policies and investments. The Gross Developmental Potential (GDP2) is proposed as a new capabilities-based framework for assessing threats to thriving and understanding progress in achieving lifelong health and wellbeing. Moving beyond the Gross Domestic Product's (GDP) focus on economic productivity as a measure of progress, the GDP2 focuses on seven essential developmental capabilities for lifelong health and wellbeing. The GDP2 capability domains include Health—living a healthy life; Needs—satisfying basic human requirements; Communication—expressing and understanding thoughts and feelings; Learning—lifelong learning; Adaption—adapting to change; Connections—connecting with others; and Community—engaging in the community. The project team utilized literature reviews and meetings with the subject and technical experts to develop the framework. The framework was then vetted in focus groups of community leaders from three diverse settings. The community leaders' input refined the domains and their applications. This prototype GDP2 framework will next be used to develop specific measures and indices and guide the development of community-level GDP2 dashboards for local sense-making, learning, and application.

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