Communication for learning and accountability

28 September 2014
SERIES About The On Think Tanks Exchange

At The Exchange we believe in sharing everything we do and know. This, we believe, is the best way to support learning and remain accountable. Therefore we have developed a simple communications strategy and monitoring and learning plan:  The best way to be accountable is to be transparent.


A simple yet effective communication strategy has been developed. To ensure that the participants remain engaged in the process and that others not directly involved are able to learn from it if they wish to, the process and all the outputs it generates will be actively communicated via:

  • A simple portal.
  • Immediate publishing of Policy and Organisational Development resources, presentations, etc. to ensure easy access to these resources and to encourage others to share their own with The Exchange;
  • Frequent blogging and tweeting before, during and after the exchanges using existing popular sites; and
  • The exchange events will provide an opportunity to develop short videos, podcasts, and other multimedia materials to be proactively shared among the participants as well as more widely.
  • To extend the participation to other staff in each think tank, the host’s communications teams will play a role in the events. This will provide another opportunity for the think tanks to learn from each other – possibly, by means of a healthy competition.
  • The communications strategy will be complemented by a simple intranet for the hub (using Google Drive) and an internal group (using either Google groups or LinkedIn). The webinars will be managed using a user friendly tool (possibly Google Hangouts).

Monitoring and learning

The Exchange will also deploy a simple yet very effective monitoring, evaluation and learning process:

  • Active and transparent communications: By accurately and quickly communicating every aspect of the process we will ensure that all parties are kept informed of plans, activities and lessons without delay. This will give them time to react provide feedback and advice. The participants will have access to all the relevant information. The best way to be accountable is to be transparent.
  • Opportunities for feedback: By organising the process around exchange events and webinars it will be possible to compare progress and maximise the opportunities for learning. Each event will provide clear indicators of whether the Hub is improving its delivery and if the participants are fulfilling their commitments.
  • Back to Office Reports and After Action Reviews: Besides ongoing blogging, tweeting, and emailing, the Hub will rely on two simple, and well known, tools to monitor progress. Each participant will write up Back to Office Reports based on their own experience of the exchanges. These will provide insights into their own assessment of the process as well as recommendations for future activities and exchanges. Using these Back to Office Reports as key inputs, an After Action Review will be organised immediately after each exchange and at the end of the entire process. These will be shared with the participants and the Steering Committee –as well as with the public at large.
  • A mid-term and a final report: A mid-term (mid-2014) and a final (mid-2015) report, using all these ‘intermediate’ monitoring outputs, will be prepared. This will include recommendations for future efforts.