b) Help different sectors (or even bits of government) agree on the outcomes they are jointly trying to achieve;
c) Help statisticians engage better with users (and vice versa); and
d) Reframe contentious issues in a way that can help find common ground. This in turn can lead to more trust and more constructive debate. (The political right and left may never agree on how to tackle poverty, but they might agree on why poverty is an important issue to tackle and how it should be defined for example, which is a significant step in itself).
In April last year I was at a meeting with Joe Stiglitz in New York and he too noted his interest in the benefits that can flow from the process of indicator construction. Nine months later I'm pleased to say the Bertelsmann Foundation have launched an important research project to look into this more closely. We are trying to develop an armoury of arguments around the benefits of the construction process that will help persuade those sceptical policymakers to take new measures of progress more seriously.
If you know of indicator projects where the process was particularly beneficial, or can think of other ways in which the process can help, please do get in touch because the research is just beginning. And if the arguments that come out are half as effective as those used by my kids we will be one step closer to a more informed public debate. And, yes, the Xbox arrives tomorrow.