Since I work for one, I was amused by this Guardian Unlimited op-ed piece on the personalities and names of thinktanks (though understandably focused on British thinktanks, and mainly of the political policy kind):
There’s a book by Roger Hargreaves, of Mr Men fame, called Are you a roundy or a squary?. Roundies were extroverts of the kind who jump in puddles. Squaries were more earnest – they didn’t like getting their feet wet. Thinktanks can be categorised in a similar way. The Institute of Fiscal Studies, with its work on pensions policy, child poverty and the UK productivity gap, is a definite squary, relying on fact and vigorous academic research. More of a roundy is Demos, with its publications on softer subjects, such as what queens and kings are for and the rise of women’s networks in the workplace….
If I were to form my own thinktank, in a bid to influence policy to, oh, have more bank holidays or join the race to put a human on Mars (you may laugh but these are recent ideas from established thinktanks) I would call it “Gravitas”. This would lend an air of sophistication to even the most tongue-in-cheek ideas. Its seriousness could be lightened with a cheeky strapline – “mining the ideas quarry”, perhaps.
[To the tune of Steven Tyler, “I Love Trash,” from the album Songs From The Street: 35 Years Of Music.]