Case study: The AI-enhanced think tank

5 February 2024

I have used ChatGPT to create a series of case studies to help illustrate my ideas recorded in my article ‘The promise and perils of AI in shaping tomorrow’s think tanks and foundations


Eleanor Rodriguez, a leading researcher at the Lumina Think Tank, delves deep into the challenges of sustainable urban living. At Lumina, the convergence of diverse minds produces groundbreaking ideas. However, to ensure that collaboration is seamless and the best ideas surface, the think tank has integrated “Nexus,” an AI-driven collaboration assistant, into its research ecosystem.

Setting the scene

Eleanor and her team are preparing a white paper on the role of vertical farming in urban sustainability. The project requires insights from agronomists, urban planners, economists, and sociologists. The challenge is how to integrate these diverse perspectives effectively.

Nexus in action

  • Data aggregation: Eleanor asks Nexus to gather the latest research on vertical farming. The AI browses global databases, filters out the most relevant and recent studies, and summarizes the findings for the entire team.
  • Brainstorming sessions: Nexus facilitates virtual brainstorming, allowing researchers to input ideas, which are then categorized, cross-referenced with existing literature, and visually presented in a collaborative digital workspace.
  • Knowledge cross-pollination: Understanding the expertise of each researcher, Nexus suggests reading materials to members outside their primary field. For instance, an economist might receive a beginner’s guide to agronomy, ensuring everyone has a basic understanding of all facets of the project.
  • Feedback loops: When a draft is shared, Nexus highlights areas where there’s a consensus or disagreement among the team. It then prompts the concerned experts to provide clarifications, ensuring that every statement in the paper is robust and well-supported.
  • Optimal team pairing: Based on the strengths and weaknesses of the researchers, Nexus suggests optimal pairs or sub-groups for tackling specific sections of the white paper, ensuring the best minds are working together where they’re most effective.
  • Scheduling and milestones: Nexus monitors the progress of the white paper, sending reminders about approaching deadlines, scheduling collaborative sessions when most team members are available, and even setting aside “quiet hours” for focused individual work.
  • Integration of external expertise: Recognising gaps in the team’s knowledge, Nexus can suggest and facilitate virtual meetings with external experts, ensuring the white paper is comprehensive and well-rounded.

The outcome

With Nexus streamlining their collaborative processes, Lumina’s team produces a white paper that not only reflects a multidisciplinary approach but is also deeply informed and forward-looking. The research gains significant attention, setting the global conversation around sustainable urban agriculture.


Eleanor Rodriguez, sitting in her office and skimming through the final draft, marvels at how collaboration at Lumina has transformed. While the talent was always there, Nexus has become the silent orchestrator, seamlessly bringing together the best of every researcher and producing a symphony of ideas.

This case study showcases how AI can act as a catalyst in collaborative research environments, ensuring that ideas aren’t just generated but are also nurtured, refined, and integrated, leading to impactful outcomes.