Think tanking is not known as the most lucrative of industries (unless you at the top of the food chain), and that is why think tankers are flocking to work outside of their respective think tanks in order to supplement their income.
Think Tank Watch has learned that more than 200 think tankers are using a private, crowdsourcing platform of a for-profit consultancy to bring in extra money outside of their think tank salary. The consulting firm, called Wikistrat, operates a global network of over 2,000 subject matter experts who work collaboratively to help decision-makers identify solutions to complex challenges.
Clients to the firm include the US Department of Defense, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, United States Africa Command, Royal Air Force (UK's aerial warfare force), and Deloitte. So-called "partners" to Wikistrat include Northrup Grumman, Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), Lockheed Martin, and Global Resource Solutions (GRS).
Think Tank Watch has analyzed scores of "experts" who use the platform and found a number from well-known think tanks, including Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Hudson Institute, Atlantic Council, American Enterprise Institute (AEI), New America Foundation (NAF), Center for a New American Security (CNAS), American Security Project, German Marshall Fund, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), Middle East Institute (MEI),and many others.
The analytics services that Wikistrat provides include prediction and early warning, scenario planning, strategic forecasting, on-the-ground collection, policy recommendations, real-time analysis/monitoring of world affairs, and modeling of complex environments through big data and crowdsourcing.
Scenario planning (which is similar to forecasting) was first used by the military in WWII and then by Herman Kahn of the think tank RAND Corporation who later founded the Hudson Institute.
We should point out that many think tankers have jobs outside of their think tanks (consulting gigs, teaching positions, etc...) in order to bring in an extra source of income.