What is a KIPI?

A KIPI is the mojo that sets a high performing organization apart from others. Intangible aspects like good decision-making, artistic and managerial expertise, reputation and relationships, intellectual capital, and the quality of the work force all influence an organization’s performance. We call them KIPIs, or Key Intangible Performance Indicators. Because these traits are, by nature, intangible, we cannot easily observe and measure them. And yet we all know how important they are. By using a statistical technique that we call “high performance frontier analysis,” we can estimate how much these intangibles play a role in setting an organization apart from others. This is a method that has helped many other industries understand high performance and the best practices that drive it.

We start by creating a level playing field, much like you see in golf, where the tees are staggered to give men, women, and seniors a more equal chance at achieving the same score. For arts and cultural organizations, we adjust the playing field for numerous organizational characteristics, like budget size and age, since we know that older and larger organizations tend to have higher performance on many performance measures. The organization’s community plays a role, too, so we adjust the starting point for those characteristics, too.