The exact definition of think tanks eludes us. With more and more organisations using the label to describe themselves, how can we decide what is and what isn't one. The Premio PODER to the best Peruvian think tanks provides an opportunity to set out the boundaries of a fluid and porous definition. One that is likely to change over time as more (or fewer) organisations assume the functions we associate with think tanks.
Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category
Do we really want to know who funds or funded think tanks and researchers? Do we want to know all about how they get their funding, who they've worked with, or for in the past? In this post, I play devil's advocate and present some arguments against complete transparency. Would it make it impossible for the system to function?
The move towards long term institutional support for think tanks has led to great improvements in their capacity. There are already a number of stories of success coming from initiatives like the TTI and KSI. But what will happen when they come to an end? Will they? How could these initiatives look like in the future and how could thinking about these scenarios today help them to achieve their objectives?
Extra, extra, think tanks are funded by foreign governments! This may have come as a shock to the readers of the New York Times but its an every day affair for think tanks in the developing world. This blog provides an overview of some of the mechanisms through which foreign funders fund think tanks in developing countries. Some pose significant challenges to their credibility and independence. Looking forward, a balance of foreign versus domestic funding will have to change.
Think tank accountability: are they really just hired guns or is it slightly more complicated than that?
Questions over think tank foreign funding have opened the door to a very interesting debate in the US. Concerns for foreign funding are also present in developing countries -India being one example. In this blog post, Enrique Mendizabal argues that what matters most isn't the source of the funding but the conditions attached to it. Greater transparency could help address concerns.
In this post Enrique Mendizabal presents several ideas to increase think tanks' publications numbers. Using associates, introducing publication targets, and investing in new skills and systems, think tanks can avoid falling into a publications' draught. Once in one, it will be harder to turn things around.
Sheepdogs have developed the perfect strategy to drive sheep into their pens. Can think tanks learn anything from them? This post presents 3 simple roles to follow.