Collaborative projects: Case Studies on Communication Strategies of Think Tanks

2 April 2015
SERIES About The On Think Tanks Exchange

This project examines the external communications activities at the team members’ think tanks. The approach differs a little from the other two projects (business models and performance assessment), in that it relies less on questionnaires and interviews of think tank staff, and more on desk research by the team members.

The desk research will form the basis for a case study of each think tank, but the team has taken a slightly different approach: Instead of carrying out a case study of each think tank in parallel, the team works collaboratively, reading each others’ documents in order to understand the communications activities of each think tank, as well as the policy context in which the activities take place.

The four case studies will be prepared in a collaborative fashion. In a sense, this reflects the very collaborative working style into which the team quickly settled – the project proposal itself was written in the same, very interactive, fashion during the team’s face to face meeting in Budapest last July.

Of course in the end the project has to produce a set of deliverables. Does the very collaborative approach taken by the team help or hinder the delivery of the project outputs?

As the team has noted, their approach has meant slower progress in the initial stages, as each team member has to absorb information not only about their own think tank, but three others as well. But this may save time when the team comes to prepare the case studies of specific communications activities, since they will share a large degree of background knowledge of each think tank and so be able to understand the political context in which the communications activities take place. So the initial stages of the project were completed later than expected, but the team expects to catch up in the next few months.