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Think Tanks

Think Tank

Here is what our previous participants say about the program:

"Through the Think Tank activity, the Leaders Institute of South Australia continues to evidence that it is at the forefront in dealing with community issues of concern and it has the resources and capability to demonstrate high level leadership in assessing, managing and influencing these issues of concern in the South Australian community." 

Tim Ridgway, Manager Psychology and Careers

"Consider your transferable skills when deciding which Think Tank to join rather than just an interest in the topic. Surprise yourself. Learn from others. Join a Think Tank, grow and make a difference.

Ruth Carter, Managing Partner, Ruth Carter & Associates

It was great being involved in the Think Tank. It reminded me of the need to tackle "wicked problems" with various lenses. The value of working with a diverse range of people to stimulate discussions and perspectives is very valuable." 

Carol Hampton, SA State Director, Mission Australia

About Leaders Institute of SA Think Tanks

The Think Tank program offers an innovative way for Governors Leadership Foundation (GLF) graduates, as a group of diverse leaders, to provide deep analysis, new perspectives and progressive thinking on organisations critical issues. As a way of facilitating the broader community benefit that GLF graduates are often compelled to deliver, Think Tank generates ‘out of the box’ ideas and fresh thinking for organisations wanting to address particular issues or enhance specific projects that will have a community impact.

GLF Graduate Involvement

Each Think Tank enables GLF graduates to work alongside a diverse group of organisational leaders on complex issues through agreed parameters to achieve measurable outcomes. Involvement in Think Tank project proposals are offered as specific projects become available. Selection is made via expressions of interest from those who are genuinely able to provide a firm commitment to participating in all meetings and carrying out required contributions for a projects entirety. GLF graduates act as volunteers to the project and are not paid for their involvement. They do use the latest methodologies making this a positive two-way learning exchange.

Organisational Involvement

Any organisation can provide a project proposal for use in a Think Tank program. The proposal needs to briefly describe the problem and the desired input and outcomes (targets) from GLF graduate involvement. Projects proposed should consider how they will utilise the core strengths of the GLF program and graduate skill base, aim to produce practical and community orientated outcomes that can be readily implemented, and provide interest and growth opportunities for GLF graduates.
Any initiatives arising from Think Tank reports will be the responsibility of the organisation and individual graduates who wish to continue to be involved in delivering, developing and/or championing them. Contact us about your initial Think Tank Inquiry .

Project Facilitation and Outcomes

The project is initiated through an information session which includes pre reading requirements, where experts representing a variety of perspectives are invited along to present information and debate the issues with the group members. Over the following 3-6 months (dependent on the project scope) a series of half-day meetings are held once or twice a month for further discussion, analysis, brain storming, exploration of focus areas and strategy development.
The Leaders Institute oversees the process of each project until a final response is submitted to the organisation. A paid facilitator is generally assigned to projects to help ensure a smooth group process and that a tangible product or outcome is achieved. Once the project is successfully completed, the GLF Think Tank group will meet with the relevant organisation staff (CEO, Champion etc) to review the process and outcomes with a view to improving the latter for the next project.

Think Tank Outcomes

The success of the Think Tank program has been experienced across a range of industry groups and has significantly contributed to the social impact of organisations involved. 

A recent example was a Think Tank requested by the Australian Hotels Association of South Australia (AHA SA) to investigate the high profile “wicked problem” of Alcohol-Fuelled Violence, and develop a range of practical recommendations and possible responses for presentation to the AHA. Questions raised were: What can be done to reduce the impact of alcohol fuelled violence? What new partnerships are possible for tackling this issue? What are some innovative ways forward that move beyond the solutions previously applied? From early April to mid-June 2013 a mixed group of motivated GLF Alumni and other stakeholders gathered information from an array of sources including presenters (both hoteliers and those affected by alcohol fuelled violence), research literature, a group field trip, and active discussions. Throughout the process the approach to this issue was an Adaptive Leadership model. To consider this complex challenge it was important for the Think Tank to think very broadly and laterally, while taking into account existing legislation, policies and initiatives, to consider new innovative approaches that would result in some positive and sustainable change in behaviour from a large demographic in society. A final Report with recommendations has been presented to the AHA SA for further use. 

"The Think Tank was a great way to get close up and personal with an issue and work with others from many different perspectives to develop some strategies to deal with it."   Alison Rogers, Principal, Living Stories

Another Think Tank that recently has taken place was 'Community Engagement - Driving Cultural Change', for the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC). The Participation and Partnership Team within DPC  is seeking to drive culture change and skill development across government in relation to “community engagement”. Between April and early June 2013 a diverse group of GLF Alumni have learnt from the knowledge and expertise of senior public sector leaders across government, as well as leaders in the field of public participation. The Think Tank has identified a set of practical approaches for use by the public sector in effectively engaging mainstream cohorts of Young, Elderly, Families, Regional, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, Business/Industry, Aboriginal, Disability in the South Australian community.  

"A great opportunity to stay engaged with the Leaders Institute and to make a contribution to the community."   Gail Carnes, Manager, Environment and Planning, Kellog Brown & Root Pty Ltd (KBR)

"Participating in a Think Tank initiative is an excellent way to brush up on team work skills, while being exposed to an array of current thinking on a particular social issue."   Faith Coleman, Founding Partner, Ecoproterm

Is this something your organisation is interested in achieving for the benefit of the SA community? Contact us to find out how to get involved.

Other Think Tanks that the Leaders Institute have developed in partnership include:

Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR): A Think Tank that contributed to the Dog & Cat Citizens Jury

Heart Foundation SA: Provide innovative strategies to encourage South Australians to embrace healthy lifestyles that look after their heart and unique fundraising ideas to support the viability of new initiatives.

SA Health: a Think Tank to address the significant and far reaching impacts of poor health and well being in our state. A number of methods was being used, including Appreciative Inquiry and rapid prototyping, to design and implement workplace wellness programs such as adopting a 'stairway to health', strategies for sharing humour and healthy food and implementing exercise programs such as Pilates. 

Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation: Identify opportunities and barriers to adaptation in communities to gauge the adaptive capacity of communities and develop strategies to achieve the Department’s sustainable development objectives

Department for Families and Communities: Work closely with senior management to develop a 20-year vision for the organisation.


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