I’ve been thinking about the role played by think tanks (research-driven organisations that seek to develop and influence national and international policies). Think tanks don’t necessarily campaign on issues, but, instead, seek to engage and influence leaders and policy makers by publishing research papers, providing opinion pieces and organising conferences and events that focus on particular areas of interest.

Think tank leaders are in high demand. While the urgent, pressing issues and noise of the here and now can consume 100% of political leaders’ time, it’s helpful that someone is thinking about tomorrow and how the world could be a better place.

In the 16 years since I started my consulting business, corporate and business life has become more demanding and, in many ways, more chaotic. Dealing with the here and now, it seems, has squeezed out leadership time and headspace for thinking about a better future.

While many businesses outsource this task to consultancies, creating your own think tanks could be a better solution. They needn’t be formal teams. Instead, your think tanks could simply involve a mix of internal and external people taking time out to develop ideas and insights on some of the biggest challenges facing your organisation. Their work could be presented in one of your normal management meetings or through bigger, conference-style events with the aim of getting the thinking started and giving you some initial ideas and concepts to consider and develop further.

I can imagine corporate think tanks on ways of working, how customers are changing the way they buy and the future leader, as well as broader topics such as delivering net zero and leveraging diversity.

How about you and your organisation? What think tanks could you set up to prompt new thinking and ideas that will help create a better future for your business?

Off The Record: Endorphinmachine by Prince

You there, with the cynical disposition

Perhaps you’d like to join us in a mission?

Of fishing for logic in a think tank

Unless, of course, you’re feeling like a punk and take the bank

But every now and then there comes a time you must defend

Your right to die and live again, live again, live again