This blog is part of a showcase of exhibits from South Asian think tanks participating in the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) programme. You may view other entries on the PEC Showcase Overview Page.
Long ago, a mice fraternity held a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the House Cat. Some said this and some said that, but at last a young mouse got up and said she had a proposal to make, which she thought would tackle the problem. ‘You will agree,’ said she, ‘that our paramount danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of his approach, we could easily escape from him. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we will always know what he is about, and can easily retire while he is in the neighborhood.’
This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and said: ‘That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?’ The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. That was the end of Aesop’s fable.
However, Walt Disney questioned this reality. Walt challenged this context. He came up with the most endearing cartoon characters of all times when he produced the housecat Tom and naughty Jerry. Aesop looked at things as they are. Walt looked at things as he imagined them to be. Jerry the mouse wreaks havoc in housecat Tom’s life.
During the course of the Think Tank Initiatives’s (TTI) Policy Engagement and Communication programmme, there have been sacred cows, think tank legends and stories, assumptions, mental models and boundaries. All of these seemingly “defines us and the work we do” and that which cannot be changed.
As the PEC program comes to an end, you may ask – so which of the Cats did you bell? What are the old realities that changed? What are the new realities?
In this post, we showcase three deliverables or artefacts from each of the three Think tanks (CSDS, IEG and CSTEP) that redefine existing ways of doing research engagement and communication. The artefacts have been developed in the context of selected research themes and the multi-pronged approaches of engagement and communication. Some of these artefacts have been developed as tools and others as processes, communication and engagement products. Some of the artefacts have been developed as a proposition concept prototype and others have been prototyped in the real-world to some extent. They are all work-in-progress.
Most importantly, all of the artefacts have been developed with an experimental and iterative mind-set. The emphasis has been on developing capability through learning-by-doing and personally finding meaning.
The three artefacts include:
- Organizing research evidence as well-stocked streams with enduring living properties. The Tale of Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
- Moving from dissemination to engagement. The Tale of Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP)
- Bridging intent and action. Using multiple platforms for different audiences. The Tale of Institute of Economic Growth (IEG)
This post has been produced as part of the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy Engagement and Communications (PEC) programme. However, these are the author’s personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of TTI. You can find all ongoing outputs related to this project via the PEC mini-site on Research to Action. To get updates from the PEC programme and be part of the discussion sign-up to our RSS or email updates. You can also follow our progress via Twitter using the following hashtag #ttipec.
Feature image courtesy of janwillemsen, Flickr.com.