Measuring Impact

Measuring direct impact in the ideas industry is a difficult challenge. No single metric can show an organization’s role in moving the needle on any given issue amid the static of thousands of other variables. Furthermore, longer-term work in improving public policy does not always yield immediate results. Therefore, in addition to tracking long-term impact, examples of which are highlighted throughout this report, AEI developed the following short-term proxy impact measures, which show where our output intersected with competitive demand in the marketplace of ideas in 2018.

AEI was profiled in Harvard Business Review. The Harvard Business Review asked Arthur Brooks to share the story of how 80-year-old AEI learned to function like a startup social enterprise, measure our success, and strengthen our efforts in the competition of ideas. As Brooks explained in the article, which appeared in the March/April Harvard Business Review edition, AEI has focused on measuring the impact of ideas, making the moral case, and communicating to new audiences. This is the first time Harvard Business Review has profiled a think tank.

AEI Podcasts

AEI’s flagship weekly podcast series, Banter, surpassed its 300th episode. Banter features leading thinkers and political commentators on a wide range of policy topics. Episodes in 2018 included conversations about economic mobility, cryptocurrency, threats emanating from Russia, populism and the future of liberal democracy, and America’s National Defense Strategy. The series has garnered a loyal and growing following of subscribers; as of December 31, 2018, it was downloaded more than 570,000 times since 2015.

AEI hosted a high-profile podcast summit. On May 10–11, hosts of 14 popular conservative podcasts (among them AEI scholars) along with producers and advertisers gathered at AEI for a podcast summit, co-hosted by Ricochet and Donors Trust. The summit featured live recordings with prominent guests including then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), as well as breakout sessions on how to produce and market podcasts and attract advertisers.

Jonah Goldberg recorded an episode of “The Remnant” at the AEI Podcast Summit.

AEI launched several new podcasts to help disseminate its work to broader audiences. In addition to Banter, podcasts featuring AEI scholars include:

AEI Events Podcast. This podcast features audio of AEI’s public events.

The Arthur Brooks Show. Produced in collaboration with the Vox Media Podcast Network and hosted by Arthur Brooks,the podcast’s first season focused on the art of disagreement in the context of our toxic political climate. The podcast has more than 454,000 total downloads as of November 2018.

Bradley Lecture Series. This podcast features historical audio of AEI’s long-running lecture series.

The Femsplainers. Hosts Christina Hoff Sommers and Danielle Crittenden (freelance author and journalist) explore topics in modern feminism with a wide variety of guests.

Managing the Future of Work. AEI Visiting Fellow and Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Fuller and his Harvard colleague Bill Kerr talk to leaders currently grappling with the forces reshaping the nature of work.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis at AEI’s May 2018 Podcast Summit.

Political Economy. James Pethokoukis’ long-running podcast features discussions with guests on politics and the economy.

The Remnant. Jonah Goldberg’s conversational podcast takes an in-depth look at the state of conservatism today.

The Report Card with Nat Malkus. Nat Malkus interviews leaders and experts in education.

To learn more about AEI’s podcast offerings, subscribe to AEI’s twice monthly Podcast Network newsletter at www.aei.org/banter and subscribe to any of AEI’s podcasts on your favorite platform.

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