Supporting think tanks is a complex matter. DFAT (Australia) has taken on a massive task of developing the knowledge sector in Indonesia, of which think tanks are a part of. An evaluation of a pilot offered some recommendations that were duly considered by the funder. Here, I offer some comments on the recommendations and the funder's response.
Posts by Enrique Mendizabal
A year ago, WonkComms was launched at an event in London. The blog, LinkedIn group, rotating Twitter account and Pinterest board soon followed. The aim was to bring people together to think about the future of think tank and research communications, and help them move towards that future. This event -Friday, 2 May - will review the last year, and also look forward to the challenges ahead. Watch it online!
Evaluations and Rankings can hide the reality of many organisations. It is perfectly possible to be influential and popular while everyone working at the think tank is unhappy and even miserable. An organisation that can be seen, from the outside, to be the envy of all others could be gone from one day to the other if its governance and management is not up to scratch. Here is an example from Sweden.
The On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition ended in January this year -but it's only just the beginning. We will be hosting an event in London (and streamed online!) on the 10th April to mark the closure of this chapter by launching a digital compilation from the competition.
The On Think Tanks Exchange is a new initiative that aims to encourage and support exchanges between think tanks for the purpose of developing new relationships, facilitating collaboration in research projects, institutional development, and policy influencing efforts. Its first meeting was held in Lima in March 2014.
This second post based on a series of think pieces written on supporting think tanks focuses on practical advice for the Knowledge Sector Initiative and similar efforts. It suggests that greater attention must be place on the environment of think tanks and other policy research actors. Of particular importance is to understand the real relationship between donors, grantees, and any contractors charged with delivering the initiatives' missions.