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Posts tagged ‘Influence’

Communicating complex ideas: the book

This post presents a new book on communicating complex ideas written by authors from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. They explore the various challenges that they face as communicators and researchers come together.

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New Topic Pages: an On Think Tanks digest

After 4 years of On Think Tanks there are quite a lot of posts on the blog. Even I have lost track of some of them, and the ideas they contain. Tomás Garzón de la Roza and Leandro Echt have edited 9 Topic Pages to help you, the reader, navigate through close to 600 posts.

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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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A few initiatives, not many projects, may be the secret to success

Lawrence MacDonald and Todd Moss have published an essay that seeks to distill what they think they have learned in the past dozen years since the Center for Global Development's foundation. These lessons are of great relevance to organisations thinking about reviewing their research agendas and organisational strategies. In this post we consider how the initiatives approach can help think tanks organise themselves, seek influence, and assess their success.

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Optimizers: How Hearts, Kidneys and Pareto Help Define Think Tanks

Hans Gutbrod suggests that think tanks at their best optimize, fix, and close policy gaps, trying to improve everyone's lives. This helps to define what think tanks are and should do, and has practical implications for the research decisions they make.

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Monitoring and evaluation: Lessons from Latin American think tanks

Are you thinking what they are thinking? In April 2013 think tanks from across Latin America came together to talk about M&E. This post outlines some of their successes, concerns, challenges, etc. In their own words.

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‘Tourist’ funders are unhelpful when supporting and evaluating think tanks

Foreign funders need proof of their grantees' influence because they do not know enough about their political contexts. If think tank funders were less like risk-adverse tourist and more like local politically engaged citizens they would not demand impact evaluations and complicated indicators of influence. But to avoid this, funding needs to be local.

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A cheaper and more useful alternative to ROI for a think tank: Force Field Analysis

Force Field Analysis can be used to plan, monitor and evaluate the decisions made by think tanks involved in influencing interventions. It provides the user with intervention options, rich information about the context, and a good sense of progress. An excellent tool for ex-ante evaluations.

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Who is responsible for a think tank’s influence?

Attempts to measure influence miss out on two fundamental questions related to current efforts and ideas focused on monitoring and evaluating think tanks: who is responsible for a think tank's influence? and what are they actually responsible for? Attempting to answer them led to two further issues: a question: when should think tanks claim influence? and, a conclusion: any claims of influence are political acts; they are claims of power over others.

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Are think tanks the new lobbyists?

The designation of the new president of the Heritage Foundation raises the question of whether if think tanks are becoming lobbyists.

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