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Framework for setting up Social Research Councils for

AC-NIELSON
A- GENERAL OPERATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILS.
1. Most of them are run as not-for-profit outfits
2. Almost all of them are heavily subsidized by respective Governments.
3. Almost all provide research Scholarships and Grants for innovative projects in various
disciplines to its members and scholars who apply
4. All good social research councils have memberships with interlinked and interrelated
local and international organization and have access to multiple sources of knowledge
5. Strong private sector and academia linkages ensure incubation and evolution of cutting
edge ideas resulting in fostering of innovation.
6. Most of the effective councils assume the role of being the breeding grounds and torch
bearers of ground breaking concepts since they have access to an enriched body of
knowledge.

B- BROAD OPERATIONAL FRAMEWORK TO LAUNCH THE SOCIAL RESEARCH


COUNCIL FROM AC NIELSON PLATFORM (Graphical time frame is provided in the end)
STEP-1: Take stock of all existing and upcoming projects being undertaken in major Multilateral,
Unilateral, Government and NGO sector entities by conducting an internal secondary research
exercise to make a competitive matrix of all the initiatives and areas of intervention in the social
and public sector.

Also, tap various departments of Social Research established in Academia and private sector as
well to get a handle on some form of competitor landscape of organizations providing similar
services. This will help in identifying any “untapped niche” or a “service gap” that can be filled
using Nielson services.

(Time Frame: Approximately 30 days)

STEP-2: Take Stock of all AC Nielson projects and assignments conducted at home and abroad
which are in line with the themes of the projects identified above. How were they conducted?
What was the outcome? Identifying all points that highlight the “quality” of research services
rendered.

(Time Frame: Approximately 30 days)


STEP-3: Identify major decision makers and opinion leaders for all the projects, and in all the
identified entities mentioned above. Identify if any of those are part of the existing TWG, if not,
invite them to join.

(Time Frame: Approximately 30 days)

STEP-4: Make a detailed presentation, drawing parallels to projects being undertaken in


Pakistan in the social sector and similar projects that Nielson conducted elsewhere with
remarkable effect. The idea is to:

 Make “small referable case studies” pertaining to various fields of present interest, e.g.
education, health, disaster, population welfare, women empowerment and all the other
ongoing hot topics to showcase Nielson’s ability to deliver HIGH quality research work to
fulfill the research needs of all projects.

 Highlight the importance of “long term cost savings” that can be achieved by using
Neilson’s high quality services that will ensure in depth, professional and internationally
benchmarked research data that can help in better decision making and planning
activities.

 Highlight the “added value” in terms of reaping larger benefits on a National scale by:
o Sharing knowledge and experiences,
o Working in close collaborations,
o Opportunity to identify capacity building of partners resulting in higher quality
work being produced etc.
o Helping in changing attitudes of working in isolation resulting in “sustainable
change” being achieved.
o Benefit to the larger population of Pakistan as a result of quality work being
rendered resulting in better decision making and policy formulation.
o Overall professional enrichment of the stakeholders operating in the research
landscape of Pakistan.

(Time Frame: Approximately 15-20 days)

STEP-5: Set up introductory meetings, preferably one on one, with as many of the identified
stakeholders and start a focused networking campaign highlighting the main purpose of the
effort. This can be done with the help of the existing TWG members by reinvigorating them
and/or adding newer ore effective members who agree with the philosophy and are true opinion
leaders/decision makers.
(Time Frame: Approximately 15 – 20 days)

STEP-6: Convene one or more detailed brain storming session (depending upon how the
stakeholders’ interest is being elicited) with the key decision makers and show them the
presentation in order to get their valued input to “pin point” and “priorities” exact areas of
intervention to identify.

This will help in a “focused selection of high priority areas” that are low hanging fruits which
Nielson can target easily, with low costs and with the larger agreement of stakeholders to achieve
early results.

(Time Frame: Approximately 30 days or more depending on the results)

STEP-7: Using the “funnel approach”, try to narrow down to themes/sectors as well as areas of
“immediate need” in terms of research gaps and services required and try to elicit a consensus
by the stakeholders and get their feedback. The idea is to get their “firm buy-in” on services that
they would like to outsource or require help in from third party service providers regarding
research matters.

(Time Frame: Approximately 30 days)

STEP-8: Identify at least 3-4 “agreed upon and focused” core functional areas for which firm
buy-in has been achieved and establish Sub-Working groups (SWGs) comprising of 2-3 members,
working under the umbrella of the TWG, within Nielson, responsible for overseeing and follow
up on those identified thematic areas with the respective implementing agency(s). E.g. SWG for
Education sector, health sector, Agriculture sector etc.

The role of proposed SWGs actually introduces a new “operational” layer (without incurring any
additional cost to Nielson) and its formation assumes great importance as it will:

 Ensure that each thematic area is properly and individually addressed and all its
operational requirements are followed up properly.
 It will provide an onus of responsibility to the SWG in-charge to deliver on mutually agreed
upon deliverables identified for each thematic area.
 It will enable Management at Nielson to have more awareness about the progress on each
identified thematic area.
 It helps in establishing a personal rapport between both sides that is crucial in building
bridges and a level of comfort for more collaboration and cooperation. (The Public sector
stakeholders require more coaxing and regular interaction as compared to private sector
stakeholders to elicit desired interest in initiatives)
 Focused networking
(Time Frame: Approximately 15 days)

STEP-9: (Parallel Activity)

1. Establish linkages of AC NEILSON-NRC-Pakistan, with similar organizations working within


Pakistan and abroad.

2. Identify membership awarding international organizations and try to get memberships


of those bodies. This will increase outreach and credibility of the outfit and will provide
access to high-end multidisciplinary research activities and researchers around the world.

3. Start a “service provider/subject specialist registration activity” within Neilson to make


a roster of subject specialists of identified thematic areas. (It is understood that Nielson
already would have a pool of experts)

4. Designing of a “holistic” multidimensional knowledge dissemination system, preferably


gravitating around IT resources for a larger and cost effective outreach. The system should
be designed to cater for the existing and future needs of knowledge dissemination of the
Research Council to all strata of its beneficiaries. International benchmarking can help
refine its characteristics after proper localization.
5. “Formulating a mechanism for awarding research scholarships and Grants” to research
fellows for shortlisted studies that have the potential of a meaningful impact. The subjects
shortlisted for award could be from the selected themes that are being pursued by the
SWGs.

6. Behavioral change amongst stakeholders, essential for continued participation and


sustainability, can be further facilitated by “roping in international subject experts” and
bringing them in from Nielson’s platform and arranging sector-specific focused meetings
with relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors through TWGs and SWGs.

C- GRAPHICAL REPRESENTATION OF A BROAD TIME LINE OF LAUNCH ACTIVITIES


DRAFT OF PROPOSED LAUNCH ACTIVITIES FOR NRC
Jan-15 Feb-15 Mar-15 Apr-15 May-15
Activities Wk1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4 Wk1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4 Wk1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4 Wk1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4 Wk1 Wk2 Wk3 Wk4

Step - 1 Take stock of existing and upcoming projects


Step - 2 Take stock of all Nielson Projects & assignments
Step - 3 Id major decision makers / opinion leaders
Step - 4 Make a detailed presentation drawing parallels
Step - 5 Setup introductory meetings
Step - 6 Brain Storming sessions (One or more)
Step - 7 Establish "Firm buy-in" on various interventions
Step - 8 Establish internal SWGs for overseeing areas
Step - 9 Parallel Activities - as quoted in text

The outcome of these activities will help in establishing future course of action. Activities mentioned in
STEP-9 are the ancillary value added activities that can have a marked effect in achieving the desired
results.

These “foot in the door” activities could also form the precursor of “Business Development” for the
Nielson as a company when they will be able to gain access to various departments and organizations.
The role of the proposed SWGs is very important in achieving this goal.