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Are these lessons of interest beyond the walls of CGD? It’s hard for us to say but we are very pleased that Enrique Mendizabal at On Think Tanks believes that they should be (see here, here, and here).
CGD blog posts reflect theviews of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.
In 2013, our CGD colleagues Julia Clark and David Roodman designed a low-cost quantitative approach to rank US and international development think tanks by the strength of their public profile. Think tanks trade in ideas and ideas need to be noticed to be adopted. Thus, think tanks’ ability to garner public attention is likely to be a good marker of their influence and potential for impact.
When my children were young we sometimes played a game at the Thanksgiving table: each diner wrote on a slip of paper something for which she or he was grateful, folded it and placed it in a basket. We then passed the basket and took turns picking one, reading it out loud and guessing who wrote it. I often wrote: "I am grateful to have meaningful work" and when it came time to explain I would say that I felt very lucky to work at CGD and to have what was for me the very best job in the world.
As CGD begins its 13th year, we are asking ourselves: can a think tank become established without becoming establishment? Buying our own headquarters also gave us an excuse to look back at what we think we have learned since the Center was created in 2001.