Talk it Over, is a weekly show curated and hosted by RJ Annapoorna Ravichander, Public Affairs Foundation. This series brings together a pool of experts who share their opinions and ideas on varied topics.
Enrique Mendzibal is the founder and director of Enrique is an independent policy entrepreneur. Apart from wearing several hats, he worked as adviser to the Multiparty Commission for the Bicentennial of Peru’s Independence at the National Congress. He lives in Lima (Peru) but spends quite some time in London and traveling to visit think tanks across the world. He combines this with travel writing.
Effect of COVID-19 on Working Environment Globally
In this interview Enrique shared that COVID-19 has affected the working environment, while some Think Tanks found it easy, since they have been working from home and have very good internet connections. However, some think tanks had to invest in internet packages, some others, especially think tanks who are doing a lot of good quality work.
Another cause for concern was the issue of collecting data where people have to go out at the risk of their health. Some organisations are not only battling with what is going to happen next, but what is going to happen in the next year, since the real effect of this crisis will be see in the eco-socio and political aspects of a country.
On think tanks conducted a survey during the pandemic and some of the lessons learnt were:
- Several organisations, started paying attention to the welfare of their staff
- Use of funds effectively is another important lesson
- With reference to the business models of think tanks going digital was key.
Points to balance the ills of COVID-19
First of all, it is important for organisations to seek (internally) what they want, why do they want funds, especially in times of such crisis. Organisations should stay prepared for a crisis in future. The process will probably include building back the role of research and think of research project agenda in advance. It is best not to get distracted but to think of long-term solutions.
It is important for organisations to recognise that the staff in an organisation is the first community which ideally includes interns, young researchers up to Board members. Another important thing is reach out to people, communicate to them and find out how they are coping with the crisis.
Survey Conducted by Think Tanks
On Think Tanks conducted a survey of all think tanks across the globe and the following was elicited:
- Networking has increased to address common challenges
- Some Think Tanks continued to be supported by their respective governments, while some did not receive any funding.
In conclusion he stated that there is a silver lining where think tanks have broadened their ideas and are exploring new business models. Use of digital tools have increased and new ways of communication has also been enhanced. Many think tanks have begun to adopt new ideas, methodologies and as a result their approach to research and funding is also changing.
Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander
Public Affairs Foundation