When does this need to be finished? Yesterday!
This is a familiar conversation in many offices. Every day we face crises that demand urgent action. And rightly so. But the challenges we face are complex. Problems are inter-related and cannot be solved in isolation. They require careful analysis, based on evidence and research.
Yet, the short attention span of the media and short electoral cycles work against the reflection we so badly need. The result is often short-term responses that only address part of a problem. Or create unintended consequences further down the line.
We need action. But it must be well-founded. If we don't get our policies right the first time around, we are trapped for many years trying to catch up with the problems we have ourselves created. I have seen that first-hand in the field far too many times.
Last week, representatives of think tanks from across the world came together for the first-ever Global Think Tank Summit in Geneva. Drawing on thorough research and data, they put their heads together to propose solutions to the most pressing challenges of the day: Ebola, climate change, development, regional crisis, extremism, terrorism and many others.
It may seem counterintuitive. ut we need to create space and time for this type of reflection if we want truly long-term, creative solutions that actually respond to the challenges before us in a meaningful way.
At best, action without reflection is meaningless. At worst, it is counterproductive.
Let's think before we act.