Managing a government think tank: inside the black box

Working and discussion papers
November 2016
Jessica Mackenzie and Caroline Cassidy

Governments around the world are dealing with increasingly complex problems and trying to better understand ‘what works’ to deliver real change for their populations. One way of addressing this is to create a well-resourced think tank staffed by policy issue experts working closely with government.

There are various ways to establish and manage think tanks, and with is conflicting advice on which models work best, it can be hard to know where to start. This working paper provides concrete guidance for those who want to operate effectively in this space. It contrasts how influential think tanks engineer their human resource systems, quality assurance mechanisms and communications and outreach to illuminate how we can best help governments get the advice they need, most effectively.