What do policymakers want? Three studies, one from the White House, one from Whitehall, and one from Australia, provide excellent information and insights into what they need from researchers and how they prefer to get it. You may not be surprised to find that they like theory and distrust anyone who talks more jargon than them.
Posts tagged ‘communication’
Some think tanks, like artists, prefer to be recognised only by their peers. They do not care much for recognition beyond their own industries and even look down on colleagues that do. This slightly light-hearted typology of think tanks may help them think about their place in their societies.
The last three WonkComms events have considered the ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘where’ of think tank communications. This event turns attention to ‘who’ – the human resources think tanks can call on for their communications, what skills are needed to progress in the sector and how to develop them.
The other week I had the good fortune of participating in an excellent meeting in Prague hosted by the Open Society Foundations: Policy Research, Technology and Advocacy Event @ the Hub. The event was designed to bring experts together from across Central and Eastern European think tanks to share ideas and learn from each other on innovative approaches to evidence-based advocacy and communications.
The previous post suggested that this can be achieved by working through three steps: a) what should get done, b) who is best placed to do it, and c) empowering those who are best placed to do it to do it.
To answer the first question, the post examined what an informed content strategy looked like. And before we dive into step b, let’s consider first why we even need a content strategy.
Various parts of a think tank or research organisation must specialise in specific functions and skills – a Durkheimian ‘organic society’ writ small. For such a society, Durkheim observed that they were more likely to have laws and regulations that facilitated cooperation rather than those that punished individuals. Kicking communications activities up a gear within an organisation requires a similar approach: rules (however formal or informal) that facilitate cooperation around its constituent parts. Within the communications remit, that’s about figuring out what goes where. In other words, it’s about determining: a) what should get done, b) who is best placed to do it, and c) empowering those who are best placed to do it to, well, actually do it!
In this blog, which was written by Oriol Farrés, Project Manager at CIDOB for the On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition, the author argues that data visualisations can support both the research process as well as the communication process for think tanks.
The First Round of the On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition was won by the Mapping Arms Data visualisation. Submissions for Round 2 of the competition are open until 2 October 2013, and I wanted to find out more about how this technically advanced, visually stunning and information packed data visualisation came into being with the hopes of inspiring other think tanks to consider putting together their own (maybe not so advanced!) visualisations. As such, I sat down with Robert Muggah, one of the visualisation's creators, for an interview.
These next posts tackle a related challenge: becoming fit for purpose. Knowing that things have to change is one thing, knowing how things have to change is something else entirely. It requires a good understanding of both the internal and external context. It also requires a strong understanding of the organisational business model and the broad objectives of the organisation.