Day three of #TheExchangeLima

28 March 2014
SERIES News and Announcements

Day three of The Exchange focused on exploring a number of organisational development and policy issues.

The day began with Roxana Barrantes, IEP’s Director, giving a presentation on how think tanks are shaped by institutional endowments. Among other things, Roxana described IEP’s unique governance.

IEP is governed by a General Assembly whose members include current and former researchers of the organisation. The Assembly elects, from among its members, a council of directors (Research, Finance, Communications, and Operations -not in those terms), and the Executive Director.

This makes IEP, and many other think tanks in Latin America, a democratically governed think tank.

Following her presentation, the participants met in groups to discuss the main three organisational development issues they identified the day before. For each, they considered 1) more detailed questions and interests and 2) possible types of collaboration:

Topic 1: Funding

  • Look at funding models: sources of funding, types of funding
  • Tension between projects/core funding
  • Role of local philanthropy
  • Fundraising strategies and links with how to manage
  • Management cycle and internal processes to respond to opportunities
  • Communications with donors
  • Taking a look into overhead: how to calculate and allocate them
  • Cross-funding: how to ensure independence
  • How think tanks think about sustainability
  • How funding models influence research agenda/policy influence
  • Alternative activities for funding besides research, like trainings

Types of collaboration

  • Systematisation of different practices: mapping
  • Case studies
  • Use some funds for mentoring between organizations or experts: common pool with applications for tailor made assistance

Topic 2: Communications

  • Why does communication change?
  • Roles of communications
  • Need of communications unit, how to afford it
  • Innovation
  • How to develop own strategies
  • How think tanks select different channels: how decisions are made, why, who
  • How do we study audiences and learn more about them
  • Examining the editorial process

Types of collaboration

  • Research of how we make decisions on communications, internal processes to manage communications
  • Share it with others and incorporate feedback
  • Self-evaluation of participants or think tanks external to the TTE
  • Hire external consultants to evaluate think tanks or separate consultants

Topic 3: Performance

  • Two dimensions: 1) internally assessing (self-assesment) and 2) external assessment (index or award)
  • Purposes of measuring performance: know your weaknesses, build on strengths, explaining what tts are, sending signals to diverse stakeholders
  • Understand how others are doing this assessment now

Types of collaboration

  • Research addressing why it is important, how we can do it
  • Internal assessment on how each is doing on this
  • Guidelines
  • Training
  • Analyse how other sectors do this (example: Great places to work, hotels, etc.)

During lunch we visited a memorial in Campo de Marte called El Ojo que Llora (The Eye that Cries). This was an introduction to a presentation by Francesca Uccelli on Education and Memory. Her presentation focused on research that she and other members of IEP have undertaken about the way in which the recent history of the armed conflict in Peru is being taught in state schools. They found, among other very important things, that an absence of a clear policy on memory hinders the way that this very important period of Peru’s history is being taught.

Following her presentation all participants worked in groups as before:

Topic 4: Improving quality of public policy

  • Multi-stakeholder analysis at districit level to choose one area of services and compara centralised vs decentralised
  • Decentralisation instruments for local development transversal approach
  • Training municipal officials for decentralisation

Types of collaboration

  • Mostly comparative research
  • Transparency of international flows
  • Participatory budgeting
  • Capacity building of local government
  • Transparency of extractive industries
  • Fiscal illusion.

Types of collaboration

  • Using visualisation tools
  • Replications or building on existing projects of the participants
  • Collaborative learning
  • Workshops on testing patterns of people

Topic 5: Policies to deal with diversity

  • Different experiences, different factors (religion, nationality, ethnic, etc.)
  • Conflict as a part of diversity
  • Struggle for democracy

Possible collaboration

  • Reflect on how each country is studying and framing these problems; share frameworks