On Think Tanks supported the redesign and relaunch of the Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF) in Tunisia. This new institution has rapidly become a leading feature in the region’s policy research community.
Support consisted in:
- Design of an organisational strategy for MEF based on the communications as an orchestra approach. Validation and planning with the team. The initial launch included a public event on the role of think tanks in democratic transitions.
- Support in developing MEF’s first project
- Mentoring the executive director, its head of research and head of communications; and ongoing support
From 06/2015 to 11/2016 (although mentoring and support is ongoing)
The OTT Consulting Team
Funder and funding
Funding was provided by the German Government through Global Project Partners e.V.
Total budget was EUR4,200.00 (not including travel and accommodation which was reimbursed by Global Project Partners)
On Think Tanks contributed to the project, too. Support from June 2015 until May 2016 and from April 2016 onwards has been provided free of charge.
Mr. Kamel Lazaar, Chairman of the Board of MEF, and the BMW Foundation also contributed with travel and accommodation to a planning meeting and an impact session in support of MEF.
Key lessons learned from the project include:
- Leadership is crucial for the success of any new think tank. In MEF commitment is found at the Board and Executive Team levels.
- First impressions matter. When MEF launched with an event and an active agenda of activities with was able to announce itself to the policy community in Tunisia. Had it taken on a long term research project its ability to raise its profile would have been severely limited.
- Human resources are crucial. Having the right team is fundamental for start-ups. An initial induction process in which the team adopts the strategy as their own is a necessary first step.
- Politics and perceptions matter. Efforts must be made to clarify a think tank’s principles, positions and interests up-front to pre-empt the formation of prejudices.