Yesterday, I received 150 e-mails. All in all, it was an average day. During busy times, I can get as many as 250, and only rarely do I receive fewer than 100. Along with the emails, there are the text messages and everything I receive from social networks, news apps, radio, traditional newspapers and magazines, podcasts, and all the other platforms I use to keep myself informed.
Looking back, I almost can’t remember a time without this avalanche of messages and information. Although I enjoy having the world at my fingertips, a day in 2019 is just as long as 30 years ago. In 1986, only 1% of the world’s information was digitalized. By 2013, that figure had reached 98% . The amount of information to which we have access has increased exponentially. The time we have to absorb it, however, remains the same.
The studies published in 2018 by the IDB Research Department add up to 3,031 pages and have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. While these numbers are a source of satisfaction for me given what we’ve accomplished, I know that even the most avid reader would take a considerable amount of time getting through it all. To address this, we have created something that would have been extremely useful to me back when I was on the other side of the table separating researchers from the rest of the world—an attractive and easy-to-absorb product that covers issues relevant to Latin America and the Caribbean in only three pages. We named it Research Insights.
The aim of this new product is to summarize the main points of our research studies, to make the results of our work directly available to policymakers, business leaders and members of civil society, so they can make better decisions based on our exhaustive analyses. With their clear recommendations and concise, accessible language, Research Insights aim to stand out from the daily flood of information.
Don’t get me wrong: This is not about simplifying the complex reality that surrounds us and that we spend so much effort breaking down and examining in our research. Three pages could never be a substitute for the detailed analysis provided in a working paper, a technical note, or a flagship report like the one we are about to release.
They can, however, open a door, providing a compelling first look that catches the interest of someone who receives hundreds of e-mails per day and who has to influence policy one way or another. So we invite you to download the first editions of our new product. In one, we summarize a study on a way to use a simple reminder to increase vaccination rates; in another we look at using several unconventional incentives to increase tax compliance.
If you want to know more, all Research Insights include the links to the full studies on which they are based. And if you want to know even more than that, you can register here and we will keep you up to date on future research.