Day 2 of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI) Exchange got underway with a provocative keynote address from East Africa Institute Director Alex Awiti. In his opening remarks, he made a strong case for think tanks to work in a way that also allows them to challenge government assumptions and the orthodoxies of the hard state.
He went on to remind think tanks that governments are not the only consumers for policy ideas and evidence by making a strong case for engaging citizens and using evidence as a tool that empowers deeper dialogue on policy issues.
After a provocative keynote address, we caught up with Alex to find out what his thoughts are on what think tanks need to be doing to be prepared for the future.
Alex speaks on how broadening the stakeholder base of engagement will be essential in building sustainability for think tanks in the future. He urges think tanks to look beyond the public sector as the primary audience for their work and also look to civil society, the business community, and local communities as stakeholders who also need evidence to support the actions that they undertake. He goes on to urge think tanks to use social media as a tool for broadening their base and promoting public engagement to ensure there is a bigger stake by the public in evidence informed outputs.