Innovation Summit 2015: Paving the Way to the Think Tank of the Future

By Chloe Lubin

“For think tanks, it’s either innovate or die” announced a Washington Post article from October 6, 2015. The world is undergoing tremendous changes that will require think tanks to develop adaptive strategies and innovative approaches at a rapid pace. The 2015 Global Think Tank Innovations Summit on December 13-15, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania brought together 79 participants from 50 institutions based in 16 countries.

The event was co-sponDiscussion at Innovation Summitsored by the Fundação Getulio Vargas (Getúlio Vargas Foundation), Brazil, and the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, United States. The Fundação Getulio Vargas (Getúlio Vargas Foundation) focuses on the promotion of Brazil’s economic and social development. In addition, the foundation was ranked one of the top 15 think tanks in the world according to the Global Go-To Think Tank Index Report. The TTCSP at the University of Pennsylvania, often referred to as the think tanks’ think tank, “conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and in civil societies around the world.”

Recent years have seen the explosion of a diverse range of think tanks. Through the Innovations Summit, think tank leaders were encouraged to respond to the growing diversity of think tanks by reviewing their organizations’ existing models in order to develop the “think tank of the future.” To do this, think tanks will need to develop cutting-edge approaches to management, policy research, human resources, technology, fundraising, and external relations.

Innovation Summit PanelDuring the course of eight panels, seven roundtable discussions, and
engaging keynote speaker addresses, specialists in the field discussed the role of think tanks in the future. The discussions emphasized the importance
of developing:

  • Innovative public policy
  • Organizational innovations
  • Adaptive strategies to new technologies
  • Strategies to retain a highly innovative, diverse, and skilled workforce
  • Data accessibility

Set in the historical capital of the United States, the Innovations Summit paved the way to bridging a disconnected past and a globally hyper-connected future.



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