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Posts from the ‘Opinion’ Category

Think tanks should not be afraid to borrow money

Should think tanks borrow money from a bank? They could be missing out on a great opportunity to take the initiative and invest in their future for lack of knowledge and adversity to risk.

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The art of creating time: invest, don’t spend

Are some organisations too successful for their own good? How can think tanks take a brake from donor led project funding to develop their own agendas and take the initiative on the projects that they pursue? In this post, Enrique Mendizabal offers some advice based on his own experience. He argues that think tanks must change the way they think about the way the spend their profits: think investment, not expenses.

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A new political economy of research uptake: overview from studies in Latin America, Africa and Asia

This posts summarises a number of studies produced by ODI, IDEA International and others between 2009 and 2012 on the political economy of research uptake. It presents cases from South America, Africa and Asia, edited books and other resources.

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Think Tank Initiative Evaluation: some ideas for the evaluators

The call for proposals for the second phase of the Think Tank Initiative presents an opportunity to reflect on what such an evaluation should entail. This 'wish-list' brings together some of the ideas presented in this blog over the years in an effort to encourage more and better applications.

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Think tanks are on the agenda in India: Skills, Scale and Speed

Think tanks find it difficult to fundraise in developing countries. Outside of the usual international development agencies, few domestic private funders exist. The new Indian Government offers new arguments in favour of funding think tanks that should be considered by think tanks and their supporters alike. If it is good for India (and China) ...

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Think tank rankings and awards: rigged, futile, or useful

Are all think tank awards useless? In this article I argue that awards can be developed to celebrate good work, increase the visibility of think tanks in their societies, and contribute to the development of the think tank community as a whole. After reviewing three rankings: the UPenn go to think tank ranking, the RePEc economics think tanks ranking, and the ICCG environment and energy think tank map and ranking, and compares them with the Prospect Award. I argue that the Prospect Magazine Award offer a model to follow and adapt in different countries and an alternative to global or regional de-contextualised rankings.

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Supporting think tanks: 5 ideas for action

We all know that bespoke and think tank led interventions are better than off-the-shelf, regional/global and third-party managed ones. But how can we take a capacity building mechanism like mentoring and scale it up? Is it possible? Should we even try? This post addresses some of these questions and presents 5 possible interventions (not that there are only 5).

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And the winner is… A look at the Prospect Think Tank Awards 2014

Last Wednesday evening was the Oscars of the UK think tank world -- the Prospect Think Tank of the Year Award. Here's some quick analysis of the event and the winners.

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Rethinking how research is communicated: two cases from Cameroon

[Editor's note: This post was written by Sandrine Ebakisse, a knowledge manager by profession. She carried out this analysis with a research grant from the Communications Division of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). In it she reflects on the strategies of two policy research organisations working in Cameroon's forestry sector.

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3 lessons from working with African think tanks

Richard Darlington, Head of News at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in London and a founding member of the WonkComms global network, writes about the importance of having a network of peers to support new communications efforts. He argues that it is possible for any think tank to produce world-class communication strategies.

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