Think! A New Hub for Third Sector Research and Social Action Is Launched Today

Posted: 11 October 2010, in Press Release

Think! Research and Consulting has been unveiled today in Glasgow as an important UK hub for third sector research and social action.

One of the first in a new generation of ‘think-and-do’ tanks, the organisation is attempting to blur the divide between research and practical action, and to work in new ways that go beyond the typical client-consultant relationship.

Clients will include frontline third sector organisations themselves as well as those agencies that sit behind and support the frontline – national government, local public authorities, and third sector intermediaries, funders, and investors.

During the current period of financial austerity the new venture seeks to support creative and enterprising solutions to community and public sector needs. It does this by providing a high quality and affordable mix of services focused on social research, social innovation, social enterprise strategy, social sector evaluation, and social impact measurement.

The focus of Think! is clearly on social change.

Jonathan Coburn, founding Director and Principal Consultant at Think!, said:

“I tend to approach the future in very positive terms. Even during the tough times ahead I can see tremendous opportunities to empower communities, stimulate social action, and carve out an even greater role for the third sector in public service reform. I see our role at Think! as providing the objective evidence and support required to make sense of change and to help make things happen.”

Think! has been set up as a unique form of private-social partnership.  This partnership brings together the expertise of CEiS (now the UK’s oldest and largest social enterprise development agency) with the former social research team of one of the UK’s better known private sector consultancy practices. To this mix it has added a highly experienced pool of third sector researchers and consultants that are located across the UK and internationally. This innovative structure is a key part of the value-based and expert approach that Think! will bring to its work.

Gerry Higgins, Chief Executive Officer at CEiS and Director at Think!, said:

“CEiS is delighted to be part of a research company that supports the sector in which we work and is geared to working with clients to produce solutions and add real value. In recession or growth, public policy needs to be underpinned by and informed by sound research so that the role of third sector organisations is properly understood and their true potential is realised.”

Think! was born out of a frustration at the lack of rigorous research evidence available to the third sector, and social enterprises in particular.

Antonia Swinson, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition, commented:

“The social enterprise movement is a woefully under researched part of UK business. There is an urgent need for practical research which helps social entrepreneurs do business more effectively and commercial research which evidences the contribution social enterprises make to the economy. The Coalition looks forward to engaging with CEIS and Think! in this important project.”   

With commissions already secured with clients in locations ranging from Alloa to Vancouver, Think! is set to make a big splash on the national and international third sector scene. 

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of Think! Research and Consulting please refer to


For further information please contact:

Jonathan Coburn on 07786 735 395 or email:

Notes to Editors:

  • Established in 1984 CEiS, a social enterprise based in Govan, Glasgow, assists communities and people in disadvantaged areas to realise their potential. CEiS helps other social enterprises to start-up and grow, provides education and training to unemployed people, works with communities to make them stronger and build their assets and provides loans to small and start-up businesses that are unable to get finance from the bank, so that they can grow and create jobs.