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February 09, 2005

On 'think and do tanks'

An article by Rob Blackhurst in the UK's New Statesman states that "whilst think tanks and their policy wonks have proliferated, their influence on policy has declined sharply". This piece has sparked a lively debate at the Demos blog about "how to stay influential and competitive, without drifting away from the very people whose lives your ideas are intended to benefit". Pitching in to this discussion, the Global Ideas Bank observed that "both Demos and New Economics Foundation style themselves increasingly as think and DO tanks". The diminishing power of pure thought to change social reality will be debated at Doors 8 - so for now I'll do some useless point-scoring: the Netherlands Design Institute (where Doors was born) called itself a think and do tank back in 1994 - as it shown on this prototype (by Zuper) of our first website . (I'm sure others used the term before we did: do tell me if you know when, and by whom).

Posted by John Thackara at February 9, 2005 08:57 AM


I think interests in think tanks is, in part, cyclical - certainly in the political arena. In the UK, think tanks are now very much more in a position of influence with the election of David Cameron as Conservative leader in a way they weren't a year ago.

Posted by: Alex at December 17, 2005 12:47 AM

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