Program works by building long-term affiliations from which Program Affiliates
and others gain strategic insight. Our
authors create an inventory of knowledge. We deliver this knowledge to diverse
constituencies—as driven by their own agendas. We distribute it by all practical
means—from executive strategy sessions to public testimony, from publications
to research affiliates.
Do Affiliates of the Program Get?
- An "open door": Affiliate
representatives visit Program principals and staff in Cambridge, call us with
questions when confronted by problems, and use the Program’s resources in
any other way that makes sense.
- An annual visit with
Program principals for presentations on our latest findings and thoughts and
for discussions on topics of mutual interest. Additional visits may be arranged
at the Affiliate’s discretion.
- A library of all Program
publications deemed current and useful, including approximately 500 reports,
books, drafts, and papers. On request, this library can be narrowed to studies
most relevant to the Affiliate or even to only executive summaries.
- Copies of publications
as they appear. The Program completes about a dozen publications a year.
- Invitations to all Program
seminars. During the academic year, regular seminars open to Affiliates and
the academic community feature speakers from information organizations. Occasional
special seminars and workshops take place as determined by events and the
interests of Affiliates. Affiliates are offered priority enrollment and discounted
– to nominate visiting
researchers to conduct studies of mutual interest to the Affiliate and the
– to propose topics
for future Program research and analysis, and
– to review and
comment on all studies in draft form.
Affiliates may use the Program’s internal capacity for research and fact-finding.
with the Program on Information Resources Policy at Harvard University is participation
in a neutral forum to explore what's going on with information resources. The
Program's goal is usefulness to business, government, and the general public
through intellectual independence and quality work. We
are supported by more than one hundred Affiliates with diverse and conflicting
stakes in information resources: users and providers of information products,
facilities, and services; executive, legislative, and regulatory agencies in
governments. We provide
our Affiliates with an understanding of changing policy and economic environments
and with exposition and analysis of their views in a nonadversarial public forum.
Program's research describes the stakes, the significant stakeholders, and the
main issues of conflict, identifies the forces in action, marks the trends,
and discusses strategies. All findings are made public. Many corporate Affiliates
have stated that they use our work as a stimulus for their own strategic planning,
for spotting opportunities, and avoiding potential pitfalls. Others have stated
that a major return to the business community at large is the improvement of
the policymaking process and of relations among business, government, and the
public through impartial research and frank public discussion. Affiliates in
the United States and throughout the world find the Program's prepublication
review process an opportunity to make their points of view heard. They also
find the Program to be a source of valuable information about the U.S. and worldwide
provide the Program with data, insights, and advice necessary for complete and
accurate research. And they provide the diversified financial support the Program
needs to assure its independence. Most
Affiliates make their contributions from an operating budget. They generally
commit themselves to support the Program through contributions for a two-year
period, following which they are better able to determine the value of the Program
and their interest in increasing their support of it. Our
goal is to build a meaningful long-term association from which both sides get
Program does research that builds knowledge for use when and where it’s needed.
Available in any format that does not impair our independence, this knowledge
is for use in planning, in understanding the environment, and so on.
find our work valuable in areas that are new to them. Our work is useful also
to executives wrestling with changes in the environment they’re already in.
As a start, the Publications list
suggests writings that may help and serves as a menu of areas in which we are
can also help Affiliates with external relations. Many of our Affiliates use
us as a forum where they can present their views of controversial issues. This
is one way in which they can increase the likelihood of their views being presented
by an impartial group, thereby acquiring visibility
and credibility, a function we can perform equally for all Affiliates.
on paper always lags behind the knowledge in our heads. Further, this knowledge
is not so well tailored to the particular needs of our Affiliates, who simply
comprise too diverse a group for a good off-the-rack fit. Therefore,
we strongly encourage other kinds of communication. We
are glad to meet with the various people within affiliating organizations who
might be able to use us. This usually includes top officers, strategic planners,
support and staff people, and those in charge of government relations. These
people often have different concerns and require separate meetings. We are more
than happy to meet with them.
encourage formal or informal contact whenever there is something that needs
to be said. Some examples:
- When an Affiliate is
examining a new area, it can be useful to check what we know about it.
- When an Affiliate is
formulating draft plans in old and new areas, we are more than happy to review
them and point out what they look like from our outside and unique perspective.
- When particular crises
or "hot topics" break, we can be useful in helping to understand where they
came from, who the players are, and what the forces and trends may be. We
get a lot of frenzied phone calls from senior executives at such times and
are happy to get more.
- A number of Affiliates
have sent people to work with us for anywhere from a week to a year. For the
former, it’s usually a matter of filling their heads with something we know
and they want to learn. For the latter, it’s usually to do research on a topic
of mutual interest. The researcher returns to the home organization with both
the knowledge and the contacts. Appropriate terms are negotiated for each
- We’re more than happy
to visit and make presentations to groups or meetings. We are often used this
way by executive committees, boards of directors, planning groups, or ad hoc
meetings attended by members of otherwise disparate departments.
any case, an initial get-together with a variety of people is the way we usually
begin. From there, we try to build the communication patterns that best fit
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the Program | In a Nutshell | Mission,
Goals, Strategies, Assumptions | Affiliation
| Competence | Confidentiality
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We Till | Audiences | Fact-Finding
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