I recently came across the concept of “economic complexity” developed by two researchers from the MIT Media Lab and Harvard School of Government.
The concept is interesting as it is tries to quantify the reasons that lead several countries to higher economic development compared to others.
The intuitive definition of the concept is the following:
"Imagine being asked to grade a multiple choice exam in a language you have never heard. To help you grade the exam, the teacher gives you an answer key, but also informs you that you need to award more points to challenging questions. The teacher doesn’t have a key for that, so you need to infer the difficulty of questions directly from the student’s answers?
One way to start is to look at how many students answered each question correctly. Easy questions were probably answered correctly by most students, while difficult questions were probably answered correctly by only a few students. Yet, some students may be guessing their answers, so a correct answer means more if it is coming from a student that answered most questions correctly.
This thought experiment should give you the basic intuition behind economic complexity. Now, think that instead of students you have economies (e.g. countries, cities, regions), and instead of questions you have economic activities (products, industries, technologies). Economic complexity is the idea that you can infer “how good of a student” an economy is by looking at the activities that it is able to develop successfully, and by looking at the other places where those activities are present"
As a concept, Economic Complexity is related to the idea of the division of labor, or more specifically, the division of knowledge. Because individuals are limited in what they can know15,19, the only way economies can expand their knowledge is by dividing it up among many individuals. Complex products, like medical imaging devices or jet engines, require vast amounts of knowledge that can only be accumulated in large networks of people.
The accumulation of knowledge in large professional networks is only possible in economies with good institutions, social capital, infrastructure, and education19. This adds credence to the idea that economic complexity measures gather evidence on “all of the above”.
So i was thinking that a similar metric system could be applied to shipping companies and even in smaller teams within shipping companies!
Have a look at the below website and browse through the excellent data visualization graphs.