What is the state of play for the use of digital tools in African, Asian and Latin American think tanks? A clinic I ran at the Think Tank Initiative Exchange 2012 in Cape Town found a good range of experiences with numerous tools and left me feeling positive that think tanks aren’t sticking their head in the sand in the face of the changes wrought by ‘digital disruption’ (at least for the self-selecting think tanks in the room).
M&E of research communications isn’t easy. Given the complexity of policy cycles, examples of one particular action making a difference are often disappointingly rare, and it is even harder to attribute each to the quality of the research, the management of it, or the delivery of communications around it. This blog outlines some of the lessons I’ve learnt in the process of creating the dashboard and investigating the data, a framework I’ve developed for assessing success, and list some of the key digital tools I’ve encountered that are useful for M&E of research communications.
Caroline Cassidy, Communication Officer for the RAPID programme, has just published a post titles: what does influence mean for impact evaluations? on 3ie’s Mind the Gap conference blog. In it she mentions a very interesting presentation by Paul Gertler who provided a refreshing and very nuance view of what influence actually means:
Not just policy change (or programme change) but also the acceptance of new ideas, the incorporation of new evidence to the political debate, the development of new skills, etc. It was a shame that this came late in a research communications workshop we had been running. It would have made a great introduction to it.
For more information on the 3ie event you can visit the Mind the Gap conference website. There will be very interesting tools and presentations for think tanks -although I would hope that there is also some space to debate the real value and relevance of impact evaluations vis a vis other sources of evidence. I’ll get back to you on this.