The think tanks development started with the RAND Corporation, the US Strategic Research Institute, which became the world’s first think tank. The center was founded in 1948 in California under the Air Force aegis in order to protect US national security.
Later, the RAND began working on the orders of other US government agencies, conducting research on military-technical, and then on the strategic aspects, such as the definition of policy and political decision-making. The Institute has staff of leading scientists, engineers, experts in politics, economy and psychology.
Therefore, when we took a great interest in the think tanks, we went to the Rand Corporation in California to study the technologies. It was warm there. And it was interesting.
Later it became a major focus of my professional activities. I had been so keen on it that, to my fiftieth birthday, I wrote a couple of books and the second doctoral dissertation on this topic.
Think tanks are scientific – research organizations, which carry informational – analytical, expert and mediate lobbying activities.
Such “brain centers” realize research and programs, aimed to influence politicians and opinion leaders on a wide range of economic, social, political, environmental and security issues. Besides, they act as a public control tool and, therefore, affect the purpose and values of society.
Thus, when creating the think tanks political and business leaders get the resource to the political decision-making influence, form the public opinion, obtain the expert support of political and business decisions to strengthen its influence in the desired target groups.
Depending on the purpose the think tanks can have different formats of activities:
- analytical center;
- virtual team is a working group, which includes participants from different cities and countries, interacting exclusively via the Internet or special software. This format allows to attract high-level experts in specific areas;
- structuring existing expert communities around the customer allows to use them in implementing its information policy and to identify high level experts to be involved in strategic projects of the customer.