Think tanks, also known as ‘reflection pools,’ are diverse groups of institutions that engage and focus on providing innovative solutions to different aspects of social sciences (McGann & Shull, 2018). Think tank organizations bring together experts from diverse backgrounds to think and develop ideas that will solve specific problems; thus, they are referred to as idea factories. The main objective of think tank organizations is to think without restrictions to foster innovation in the future by influencing public policy while claiming autonomy (Abelson, 2018). Several think tank organizations exist with different focus areas; for instance, the Pew Research Center, Heritage Foundation, and RAND Corporation are all think tank organizations. These organizations use different techniques and models such as one-roof (where members meet face-to-face) or think tanks without walls (where members communicate virtually using technology) to foster innovation. While some think tanks are nonprofit organizations, others are profit-making organizations, and some are government-funded programs.
Five think tank methods are used to enhance innovative thinking; this includes; combining ideas, thinking backward, doing rapid prototyping, creating internal funds, and taking it online (Aly, 2019). These methods and techniques are geared towards enhancing innovation. Thus, ideas are combined through creativity simulation in the study area. As a result, members look for intersections between different innovative ideas and figure out how they may work together to solve the problem being discussed. Another method used by think tanks is to develop holistic thinking patterns such as thinking backward. They do this by starting with the desired outcome or final expectations and reverse engineer by working backward. Think tanks also create tools to deal with complex problems by doing rapid prototypes and implementing ideas in a piecemeal manner that could challenge the status quo. For any think tank organization to function efficiently, funds must be available to run the organization’s operations while encouraging innovative thinking. Finally, ideas developed are recorded online for future references. For any think tank organization to function effectively, ‘one roof’ or ‘think tank without walls’ guidelines are critical to fostering cooperation and respect amongst experts. Discussions carried out by one roof think tanks while sitting in a circle significantly increase individual participation while discouraging disparaging behavior (Aly, 2019). Having think thank discussions in a circle creates an arena that boosts morale and productivity, given that results must be appropriately communicated to be effective.
Abelson, D. E. (2018). Do think tanks matter?: Assessing the impact of public policy institutes. McGill-Queen’s Press-MQUP. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KYd7DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=think+tanks&ots=u6c1F-YU-U&sig=egOf-Tw6HmmC0llrzhnTU4yBX1k#v=onepage&q=think%20tanks&f=false
McGann, J. G., & Shull, A. (2018). Think tanks and emerging power networks. In Think Tanks and Emerging Power Policy Networks (pp. 3-14). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71955-9_1