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Observations from a gathering of African Think Tanks: Of visas, rankings and existential threats

Peter da Costa reflects on a meeting of African Think Tanks where concerns about global rankings and threats to think tanks were discussed. He argues that think tanks in the region need to come together to learn from each other -but this needs to be an African initiative if it is ever to be successful.

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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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The on think tanks interview: Michal Tošovský who mapped Czech Criminality

After the end of the On Think Tanks Data Visualisation competition, we were able to catch up with the winner of the Third Round as well as the final overall winner of the competition, Michal Tošovský. Michal led the team at Otevrena spolecnost, o.p.s. -- a Czech think tank focusing on police and public security -- that is behind Mapping Czech Crime, a visualisation that we think does what it says on the tin and does it well!

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

This post outlines a number of important governance and management challenges that think tanks face and that should be dealt with early on in any capacity development effort. They include issues related to their boards, the executive direction, senior management, central services, and the way in which research is organised.

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Call for applications: Prospect Think Tank of the Year Awards 2014

Prospect Magazine has launched its 2014 Think Tank of the Year Awards. Entries are now open for this interesting and worthwhile celebration of think tanks. This year, the winners will be chosen from the US, the UK, and Europe.

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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

In this first of three posts I outline the importance of addressing Governance and Management challenges early on in any capacity development effort. Leaving these issues for later can lead to insurmountable problems later on and unnecessary waste of the resources allocated to think tanks. Getting the foundations and the basic structure right is crucial.

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From managing research to mentoring: an effective mechanism for a generational transition

Raquel Zelaya, Director of ASIES in Guatemala, writes about a change process that ushered a generational change in the organisation's management. ASIES faced a challenge that many think tanks face today: how to transition from the founding generation of researchers to a newer one? This post describes how they did it.

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