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Posts by Enrique Mendizabal

You may be proud of being ranked as a top think tank, but what about your staff?

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.

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Video of Think Tanks Data visualisations event

On Think Tanks and WonkComms have organised an event to close the On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition, supported by the Think Tank Fund. The event, in London, included the participation of Brazilian, Mexican and Czech experts whose visualisations were rewarded by the competition. Watch the video and join the conversation.

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Fundraising should be fun… but it is also a very serious matter

Arthur Brooks has found a way of making fundraising fun at the AEI. He argues that it is the role of fundraisers to give philanthropists meaning: to connect their wealth with their convictions. This raises important questions for think tanks. They must think both about what may be politically relevant as well as what may be of interest and importance (literally and figuratively) for their funders. As think tanks in developing countries begin to look for domestic alternatives to foreign funding, these insights may be invaluable.

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Transparify: Donors need to reveal their funding to think tanks abroad

Till Bruckner writes about the importance of demanding more openness from think tanks. He argues that their funders should expect them to be open about their sources of founding and the amounts the receive from them. In doing so he introduces a new and exiting initiative: Transparify. This new collaborative effort aims to rate the level of transparency of think tanks across the world.

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Event: Data visualisations -where data, technology and design meet politics

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.

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The On Think Tanks Exchange: first meeting

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.

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Supporting think tanks series: synthesis of the think pieces -(possible) recommendations

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.

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Supporting think tanks series: synthesis of the think pieces – context related lessons

A year ago, On Think Tanks commissioned a series of think pieces on supporting think tanks for the evaluation of a pilot for the Knowledge Sector Initiative in Indonesia. This post outlines a number of lessons related to the challenges that the context places on think tanks - donor relationships. The think pieces identify at least six key aspects of the context that should appear high in any assessment of think tank support efforts: culture; politics; the labour market; information availability; donor–grantee relationships; and donor/grantee interests.

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Strengthening Grupo FARO’s Board of Directors

Orazio Bellettini, Director of Grupo FARO in Ecuador, writes about his think tank's Board and what they have learned trying to strengthen it. He argues that it is not enough for them to include well known and knowledgeable individuals but that they must also have the right skills to govern a think tank. As a consequence, he calls for the development of a generation of new think tank leaders who may take-on senior management and governing roles in the future.

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Better Sooner than Later: Addressing think tanks’ governance and management challenges to take full advantage of new funding and support opportunities

This last post about Governance and Management presents a discussion on staffing, line management, and monitoring for management. It encourages think tanks and their funders to deal with the elephant in the room sooner than later.

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