Before we bid farewell to 2014 let us revisit some of the better ideas and stories of the year. Also, let us reflect on a few developments at On Think Tanks.
What can plural think tanks do when faced with a highly political and ideologically charged issues? They cannot fully commit to a single policy option when some of their own researchers are fiercely against it. This kind of internal opposition can even kill great ideas. This blog post puts forward a new approach for plural think tanks. It argues that it is possible to be the source of a solution even if this solution has been developed elsewhere. Creating the space for debate is a function that needs to be given more attention to.
Transapreify has shared some interesting data on 21 US think tanks. We put together a few data visualisations to see if we could make a bit more sense of the data. The picture is a complex and exiting one. It turns out that being big does not necessarily mean you are more visible and this says little about the perception others have of you. When it comes to think tank, painting by numbers if not enough; we need a freestyle painting.
Public events are an excellent communication and convening tool for think tanks but few use them to their full potential. This post outlines some advice on how to produce an event for impact. It argues that events can be cheap and entertaining -for speakers and audiences alike- but they have to be produced more carefully.
In this post, Guy Lodge and Will Paxton write about a new initiative to support think tanks in Zambia: the Zambian Economic Advocacy Programme (ZEAP). This initiative, comparable to the much larger Think Tank Initiative and Knowledge Sector Initiative (in Indonesia), aims to improve the quality of economic policy debate in the country by relying on the role of experienced peers to support a group of think tanks. It offers a promising alternative to much more expensive models.
It is time to vote for your favourite interactive data visualisations. The On Think Tanks Data Visualisation competition is showing the candidates for the second round that focuses on interactive visualisations. The top 5 visualisations will go on to be judged by the panel. Vote is open until 10 December 2014.
José Luis Chicoma, Executive Director of Ethos Public Policy Lab, reflects on a recent gathering of Latin American think tanks. He puts forward 'a theory of the evolution of think tanks' that leads to the formation of much more politically engaged organisations, working closely with grassroots and other actors that hitherto, think tanks have not been known for working closely with.
Neeta Krishna, Associate Professor, Father C Rodrigues Institute of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai, offers a fresh take at think tank effectiveness. She outlines a number of factors that may help describe and understand think tank effectiveness. She draws comparisons (sometimes possible, sometimes not) from the private sector offering interesting insights into how to assess think tanks value.