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Posts from the ‘Resources and links’ Category

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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Building sustainable think tanks is a long-run endeavour: the future of ACBF

This post outlines the Africa Capacity Building Foundation's new plans. It appears that a stronger focus on results and deeper engagement with 'senior demand side' players is on the cards. Also interesting, especially for a funder used to helping set up new think tanks, a focus on mature ones. Peter da Costa offers this as a closing post on a series dealing with a recent think tank summit in Africa.

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“Think Tanks in Africa: Catalysts for Ideas and Action” by Dr. Frannie Léautier

In this post Peter da Costa turns his attention to Dr. Frannie Léautier's presentation at the think tank summit. She argues that think tanks play a number of important roles as: Mediators, Trusted Advisors, Transformers, and Independent Thinkers. More importantly, she makes a strong case against the obsession with results: “If ACBF wanted immediate impact it would never have invested in think tanks for more than 20 years!"

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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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Our Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) Program: On the importance of flexibility

In this post, Julie LaFrance from the Think Tank Initiative, reflects on some of the lessons the programme has learned in supporting think tanks. She argues that greyer flexibility from donors (and the various contractors they use) is necessary to support think tanks in a way that suits their own interests and possibilities. Important lessons for any 'demand-driven' initiative.

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‘Research TO Policy?’ Reflections on a Persistently Intriguing Debate

In this post, Peter da Costa argues that there is something seriously wrong with many of the assumptions underpinning the 'research to policy' sector. He outlines a number of questions that emerged from a reflection on a Conference on Population, Reproductive Health and Economic Development and sets out to offer very relevant advice: from investing in homegrown research to leaving researchers to focus on their research.

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How to improve your capacity to write proposals: Grupo FARO’s Committee for Project Approval

Like many think tanks, Grupo FARO from Ecuador, finds it hard to decide what proposals to develop and how to make sure those they develop are 'winning proposals'. Finding the right balance between individual researchers' interests and the organisation's mission as well as between short and long term agendas is a challenge think tanks face. In this post, Adriana Arellano shares a tool adopted by FARO: a committee for project approval.

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