As far as we can tell, no one has taken the initiative to define the term, so we’re going to define it for our own purposes.
The etymology is pretty simple: “Action Tank” comes directly from “Think Tank.”
So what is the difference between a Think Tank and an Action Tank?
A Think Tank conducts research, and produces reports on the implications of the research. An action tank also conducts research, but does more than just issue a report. An Action Tank is an organization that conducts research, then develops and implements a plan of action based on the implications of that research.
To be more specific:
- We conduct research that is relevant to our stakeholders.
- We prefer to conduct research for the purposes of development rather than maintenance. This means we would rather invest in new programs than justify existing programs.
- We view program development as a cyclical process rather than as a linear process. New programming can begin or end with research.
- We are not afraid to work with existing partners or form new partnerships as part of our action planning.