How Research-Driven Organizations Become Thought Leaders


Safety Lasagne & The Wrong Fungus

Metaphors are like widgets for the mind. The point of a metaphor is to fit into two things — the world and your mind — and then turn, to unlock a different way of seeing in you.

A story might do that.…

Read More

Crappy Science & COVID Risk Perception

Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash

I caught up with a friend the other day — let’s call them The Old Scientist — who thinks many people are behaving too fearfully about the risks of COVID-19.

The Old Scientist doesn’t advocate not taking precautions — they wear a mask in public, and insist others near them do the same — but they also do things that a lot of people who also pay attention to science headlines wouldn’t dream of doing, such as flying frequently and dining out at indoor restaurants.…

Read More

Guerilla Thought Leadership: An Introduction

It’s incredible to me that so many NGOs, research centers and academic institutions still prevent their research staffers — particularly junior researchers — from doing public scholarship and trying to become thought leaders.

After all, it’s not as if the world desperately needs less research-based insight — especially from new voices that might give us fresh perspectives and solutions on all the challenges that collectively threaten to overwhelm us.…

Read More

Who Are Your Thought Leadership Partners?

The venture capitalist Laura Deming is advertising for one of the most beguiling ideas I’ve heard in some time: a thought partner.

For Deming, this partner would be someone like her: fascinated by science; working in a profession “related and orthogonal to it”; keeping up with the literature in one or more fields; and desiring someone with whom regularly to explore science-related ideas.…

Read More

Stop Rearranging Deck Chairs

You would think research communications has enough challenges today; it doesn’t need to inflict its own.

And yet: Self-regarding gestures — especially self-flagellating ones — have become proxies among many research communicators for action and impact. Example:

If I recommended the above to my clients — academics, NGOs, for-profits that a) are all deeply committed to and practice diversity and inclusion and b) pay me to help them articulate and start conversations with new audiences about their biggest, research- and expertise-based ideas and solutions and arguments — they would … be perplexed.…

Read More

Clarity, Engagement & Science

I was wrapping up a kickoff meeting with a scientist I’m coaching and asked him if there was anything he wanted to accomplish working together that we hadn’t already discussed.

“More of what we’ve been doing today,” he said. “Getting clarity on interesting entry points for my audiences.…

Read More