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An initiative model for a plural think tank: a space of policy ideas

What can plural think tanks do when faced with a highly political and ideologically charged issues? They cannot fully commit to a single policy option when some of their own researchers are fiercely against it. This kind of internal opposition can even kill great ideas. This blog post puts forward a new approach for plural think tanks. It argues that it is possible to be the source of a solution even if this solution has been developed elsewhere. Creating the space for debate is a function that needs to be given more attention to.

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“Solution Aversion”: Denying a problem when you do not like the solution

New research from Duke University shows that people are more likely to deny a problem if they disagree with the solution. They will even go back and rethink their own views. It is not that they are anti-science or anti-evidence, rather, they are, as one should expect, political. This has important implications for think tanks and for the evidence based policy sector.

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The one billion dollar business: American think tanks

Transapreify has shared some interesting data on 21 US think tanks. We put together a few data visualisations to see if we could make a bit more sense of the data. The picture is a complex and exiting one. It turns out that being big does not necessarily mean you are more visible and this says little about the perception others have of you. When it comes to think tank, painting by numbers if not enough; we need a freestyle painting.

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How to produce a public event

Public events are an excellent communication and convening tool for think tanks but few use them to their full potential. This post outlines some advice on how to produce an event for impact. It argues that events can be cheap and entertaining -for speakers and audiences alike- but they have to be produced more carefully.

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A peer-to-peer approach to supporting think tanks in Zambia

In this post, Guy Lodge and Will Paxton write about a new initiative to support think tanks in Zambia: the Zambian Economic Advocacy Programme (ZEAP). This initiative, comparable to the much larger Think Tank Initiative and Knowledge Sector Initiative (in Indonesia), aims to improve the quality of economic policy debate in the country by relying on the role of experienced peers to support a group of think tanks. It offers a promising alternative to much more expensive models.

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Vote Now for your favourite interactive visualisations

It is time to vote for your favourite interactive data visualisations. The On Think Tanks Data Visualisation competition is showing the candidates for the second round that focuses on interactive visualisations. The top 5 visualisations will go on to be judged by the panel. Vote is open until 10 December 2014.

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An on the record discussion about think tanks (también en castellano)

José Luis Chicoma, Executive Director of Ethos Public Policy Lab, reflects on a recent gathering of Latin American think tanks. He puts forward 'a theory of the evolution of think tanks' that leads to the formation of much more politically engaged organisations, working closely with grassroots and other actors that hitherto, think tanks have not been known for working closely with.

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Think Tank Effectiveness – An outsider view

Neeta Krishna, Associate Professor, Father C Rodrigues Institute of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai, offers a fresh take at think tank effectiveness. She outlines a number of factors that may help describe and understand think tank effectiveness. She draws comparisons (sometimes possible, sometimes not) from the private sector offering interesting insights into how to assess think tanks value.

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Round 2 submission deadline extended

We've already got some great entries to share, but we know there are a lot more examples out there! We also know it's a busy time of year. As such, we've decided to extend the submission deadline by one week.

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Life after core funding

In this last post, Gjergji Vurmo, Programme Director at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation, in Albania, offers a final reflection on life after core funding. He discusses the effect that core funding has had on the organisation's governance, staffing decisions, and research agenda.

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