Blog Archives

Powerful storytelling: how comms stole the show

What revolutionary digital communications tool had a communications specialist at the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) in Kolkata employed that had single-handedly creating the biggest event buzz in a roomful of 100 academics and activists at the most prestigious university in India? A camera and a 20 year-old technique. That’s what.

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Posted in Guidance, Opinion

Moving beyond the report + media coverage communications model (or why Prospect’s ‘Publication of the Year’ award should be ‘Research Communications Project of the Year’)

That ‘appropriate way’ of communicating to get action and change will never be – has never been – a report alone. Though media coverage has always been central to think tank communications, changes to the way information is broadcast, found and consumed in the digital age will usher in a new understanding of what products are used in think tank communications.

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Posted in Opinion

Animations: my step-by-step guide

A screenshot from ODI's Development Progress animation

Katy Harris of ODI’s Development Progress project outlines how they created an animation to explain the project to a broad audience, whilst also maintaining our authority to produce credible recommendations to policy-makers that are evidently based on ‘serious’ analysis.

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Posted in Guidance

Once more, with feeling? Emotional communication in think tanks

Lego men showing emotions

The most effective communication is the one that work on both a rational and an emotional level. The one that engage both your heart and your mind. But in our think tanks, we sometimes downplay our emotional propositions in order to prove how rational we are. Let’s bring our evidence to life and remember that the best communications include both rational and emotional propositions.

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Posted in Opinion

Providing context: topic pages at research institutions

Topics are usually prominently displayed at research institutions

Although there are many other aspects to developing strong topic pages, in many ways topic pages are a means of providing context on topics. This opportunity is frequently missed by research organizations. Below I make five suggestions for providing better context to your research from topic pages. Note that although the focus (including the examples) is on think tanks, these recommendations apply to other research institutions as well.

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Posted in Guidance

Design Content for All Platforms, Not Just the Desktop

The web continues to fragment. Most observers estimate that the mobile web will overtake the desktop world sometime in the next 12 months. While visitors to think tanks may not be out on the leading edge of the tide, they’re assuredly

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Posted in Opinion

50,000 @jrf_uk Twitter followers can’t be wrong

How did the Joseph Rowntree Foundation build their corporate Twitter account to reach 50,000 followers? Through tweeting links to the latest news and developments relevant to a specific subject; then splicing in their own messages, content and media coverage.

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Posted in Opinion

What even is a blog?

In a recent blog on From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green asked: ‘is blogging an established part of the landscape and is there a successor waiting in the wings?’, assuming that if blogs are a part of the furniture then everybody should be encouraged to get comfortable with them. My answer is ‘yes they are and no there’s probably not’.

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Posted in Opinion

Finding Digital Publishing Solutions for Research Organizations

John Osterman, publications manager at the Center for Global Development, reports back from the Digital Publishing Fair and Roundtable they hosted last week. Participants discussed strategies for staying at the forefront of the shift from delivering content digitally to creating digital content. Five years ago perhaps they could PDF a report and call it a day. Today, it’s not enough.

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Posted in Events

Virtual conferences: not in the future, but now

Over on the International Institute for Environment and Development blog, Suzanne Fisher explains how a virtual conference they held allowed online participants to follow and take part in an IIED conference, cutting carbon footprints and expense.

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Posted in Found on the web