Borderless research

The concept of borderlessness was first applied to physics, and later it was gradually applied to the fields of management and pedagogy, and concepts such as “borderless organization” and “borderless education” were produced. In a nutshell, the essence of borderlessness is to use modern means to break through the various conditional restrictions in the past in order to achieve higher efficiency and better results. For think tanks, borderless research can solve the problems of a singular research model to a certain extent, and better meet the requirements of timeliness, pragmatism, comprehensiveness, and forward-looking of think tank research.

The connotation of borderless research

The author believes that the borderless research of think tanks refers to the combination of information technology, the Internet and other advanced technological means in the research process, to break through the constraints of time, organization, team, region, sector, etc., and to integrate various intellectual resources and subjects related to research. Bring together, through professional team operations and effective mechanism design, build an organic whole of think tank research and optimize the research process, so as to ultimately achieve high-quality and pragmatic and effective research results. The connotation of borderless research should include the following aspects.

First, the organization has no boundaries. Traditional research institutions exist in specific research organizations, such as government departments, public institutions, social non-profit organizations, and corporate research companies. They all have established organizational forms and boundaries. Cross-organizational behavior requires inter-organizational organizations. The form of cooperation is completed. Organizations have no boundaries to break through this boundary, blur the main body of the organization, and emphasize the content and form of research. This form is somewhat similar to the concept of a project team in enterprise management, that is, in order to better complete a given project, the company breaks through the barriers of the department to set up a temporary project team as needed. Although members come from different departments, they are divided according to labor during the project. Each team performs its duties, and the team disbands after the project is completed and returns to each department.

Second, time has no boundaries. The time without boundaries here is not to emphasize the timeliness and timeliness of the research, but to the research forms in which previous research needs to be carried out at the same time. For example, in the research, expert seminars in various fields need to be convened. In the past, experts would organize centralized discussions or surveys on a certain issue at the same time. It is necessary to achieve time identity, and often conflicts such as time conflicts are difficult to coordinate. When the time boundary is breached, experts can participate in the discussion according to their own time schedule, and can contribute their research time to the time with the most abundant time, the most focused, and the most in-depth thinking, thereby increasing the participation and contribution rate of the experts.

Third, there is no boundary in the region. The biggest advantage of the Internet and information technology is that it can break through geographical restrictions and improve communication efficiency. In think tank research, modern technology can be used to integrate intellectual resources in a wider range, which can even transcend national and cultural boundaries and integrate globally. For example, to discuss the issue of how the high-quality development of the Chinese economy can proceed under the new trend of economic globalization, according to the traditional research model, due to geographical restrictions, it can only be carried out within a certain range. After the realization of borderless research, regional restrictions will no longer exist. We can invite experts from all over the world who understand the Chinese economy to study and discuss this issue from their respective regional perspectives, with richer perspectives, more diverse perspectives, and greater inspiration.

Fourth, experts know no boundaries. In the past, when we did policy research, government departments invited relevant scholars from universities or research institutions to participate. The scope of experts was narrowly defined. In today’s situation, this narrowly defined “expert” obviously has considerable limitations. From the perspective of decision-making research, the participation of experts from government who are familiar with policy is required; from the perspective of theoretical research, the participation of academics with academic background from universities is required; from the perspective of social research, industry-level frontline and practical experience are required. From the perspective of public opinion guidance, the participation of experts from the media with rich communication experience is required; from the perspective of public diplomacy, the participation of experts familiar with foreign affairs is also required. This definition and integration can achieve cross-border synergies in research.

“Three foundations, two supports and one platform”

In order to realize the borderless research of new type think tanks, in addition to modern information technology and Internet means, it is also necessary to build a system for comprehensive support. The author summarizes it as “three foundations, two supports and one platform”, as follows.

Database foundation for intellectual resources. Intellectual resources are the core resources of think tank research. The process of think tank research is to effectively organize various intellectual resources to conduct in-depth analysis and judgment on a specific problem to form a knowledge production process of research results. Borderless research requires the integration of experts and scholars from various fields, including government-industry-industry-research media, to form a “smart interaction” system, and the premise of integration is an expert database foundation with intellectual resources. The intellectual resource database mentioned here is not simple information of experts, such as units, titles, research directions, research results, etc., but according to the requirements of the current big data era, various expert resources are dataized, labeled, and dynamically tracked. Research trends and practical directions to form big data information for intellectual resources. At the same time, on this basis, experts are matched according to specific research needs to achieve the optimal allocation of experts and scholars, the optimal integration of decentralized and fragmented knowledge and information of intellectual resources, and the research results needed to organize production into think tanks.

Database foundation for social information. Think tanks study very specific and realistic issues, which means that the research objects of think tanks come from society. Establishing an “intelligence society” system and forming a complete and reliable social information database is a common prerequisite for conducting borderless research, and it is also an important basis for the solid development of think tank research. When setting up such a database, we should pay attention to the diversity of collection sources and create various cross-border data collection platforms to obtain multi-dimensional, multi-layered, and more comprehensive social information data, and avoid “blind touch” in think tank research. Produces one-sided analysis and judgment. For example, think tanks that take industrial development issues as research objects, in addition to establishing data cooperation with local government departments such as industry and information, taxation, industry and commerce, science and technology, should also consider setting up some industrial data monitoring points by themselves, and even refer to overseas data Resources to more comprehensively and deeply grasp the development of the industry.

Database foundation for application market. The market for the application of think tank results can be roughly divided into three groups: government officials, the general public and international audiences. The intellectual products produced by think tanks should be transformed into these three groups in order to achieve the functions of advice, guidance of public opinion and public diplomacy. As a professional institution, think tanks should clearly understand the nature, cognition, preferences and other information of their audience market. Based on such a consensus, it is necessary to understand the research purpose to carry out borderless research effectively. For example, for research in which the audience is government officials, think tanks should dynamically track and grasp policy documents issued by government departments on a certain field, not only to understand the current policy progress, but also to conduct in-depth analysis of existing policies and their implementation effects. Mastery, so that we can clarify the problems and pain points encountered in the current government decision-making process, carry out targeted borderless research, and produce practical and effective research results.

Support from a professional operations team. The important difference between think tanks and traditional research institutions is the particularity and importance of operations. The role of the think tank operation team is to give play to planning, organization, implementation, and control functions, to embed all aspects of think tank knowledge production, improve process efficiency, and improve output quality. At the same time, knowledge products must be transformed into government, society and abroad through different methods and channels. The development of new types of borderless research by think tanks requires efficient and professional operations as support. Operational empowerment research promotes the generation of high-level research results and enhances the think tank’s influence and reputation in the process of transformation to the market. For example, one of the important modes of borderless research is to conduct “intelligent media interaction”, that is, to integrate the information reached by the media into the research system, and to disseminate and transform the results through the media. For example, a position similar to “media relations” should be set up in the operation team, whose function is to integrate useful information, resources, or research results interacting with the media into the think tank research system. In addition, a communication matrix should be established to leverage their communication channels. And influence form the exponential effect of the dissemination of think tank results.

Support of a complete system. The importance of system construction for the standardized operation and long-term development of an organization is self-evident. The design of the system should also focus on how to best facilitate the resources of the organization, how to stimulate the enthusiasm of all parties, and how to guide the highest quality of output. The results come. In addition, the borderless research of think tanks also needs to explore the cooperation mechanism of the four interactive systems of “smart politics”, “smart wisdom”, “smart community” and “smart media” to form an organic and unified research ecosystem. For example, the results recognition and reward policies of think tanks should take into account the actual situation of other types of experts other than the researcher of the unit, and their contributions should not only look at direct contributions, but also consider indirect contributions, such as the provision of research platforms, data and information Support etc. For another example, the construction of the four interactive systems must be accompanied by corresponding cooperation models and institutionalized through an institutional system.

Flexible and flexible research platform. In the final analysis, think tanks still exist in society in a concrete physical form, with their own names, logos, brands, and trademarks. This is the “mother” of all elements of think tank research and the “subject” of borderless research. Factors such as the philosophy, culture, hierarchy, scalability, and professionalism of the think tank platform will fundamentally affect the effect of the borderless research model, and the most important of these is whether the institutional mechanism of the think tank platform is flexible and flexible. The essence of borderless research is similar to the “flexible manufacturing” of manufacturing enterprises. The premise of carrying out “flexible manufacturing” is that the organizational platform needs to have flexible and flexible mechanisms. It can autonomously organize various resources to adjust production according to market needs and accurately meet the market. demand. This requires that think tanks continue to make adjustments and innovations in their institutions and mechanisms, and give full play to the role of new-type think tank governance structures, such as councils, academic committees, and advisory committees.