When we started this project we expected that the 10 participants would get together in pairs and put forward 5 collaborative research projects to work on during the year or year and a half of remaining in The Exchange.
After the first meeting in Lima in late March, the 10 participants decided to make a couple of changes to the script.
First, they decided that rather than ‘research’ projects they wanted to get involved in action learning projects. There would be a bit of research but mostly it would be about exploring what each of them were doing (or planned to do), compare, learn across think tanks and regions, and try to incorporate these lessons into their organisations.
Second, they decided that 2 (and maybe 3) projects were enough. The participants have ‘split’ into 2 large groups of five each.
Strengthening communication capacity of think tanks through mapping and comparison
This project involves:
- Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP): Francesca Uccelli from Peru
- Centre for Political and Legal Reforms (CPLR): Nadia Dobryanska from Ukraine
- Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA): Radka Vicenová from the Slovak Republic
- Institute for Research and Empowerment (IRE): Bambang Hudayana from Indonesia
It aims to strengthen the think tanks’ and the participants’ communication capacity by:
- mapping their own communications
- comparing communication practices of think tanks – participants
- adopting innovations in communication revealed as a result of communication mapping and comparison with practice of other think tanks
- designing a communication strategy for an intervention by think tanks-participants in the area of shared interest (diversity, discrimination etc)
How are we doing? Internal Performance Assessment for Think Tanks
The second project involves:
- Irina Guruli from Georgia, Economic Policy Research Center (project specific monitoring)
- Leandro Echt from Argentina, Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (M&E processes that need strenghtening)
- Petra Edina Reszkető from Hungary. Budapest Institute for Policy Analysis – (experience with evaluation programs)
- Renata H. Dalaqua from Brazil, Brazilian Center for International Relations
- Adriana Arellano from Ecuador, Grupo FARO (basic monitoring scheme)
The team wants to study and test performances assessment frameworks that consider:
- Existing tools not used usually in the non profit sector
- Think tanks are small and have financial sustainability issues that limit availability of staff dedicated to internal performance evaluation
- Think tanks ‘outputs and impacts are more challenging to measure
- Easy to apply, inexpensive tools that can foster knowledge of internal capacity and performance
These projects have been presented in a webinar organised in May and each of the teams is working to develop the concept notes into full proposals with the support of Stephen Yeo and Vanesa Weyrauch. The first group is looking towards meeting in Budapest around early July.
The second team looks set to organise a coordination webinar.
These two approaches reflect both preferences as well as the teams own efforts to adapt to their member’s constraints.