An organization dedicated to establishing and disseminating the intellectual infrastructure of the progressive movement should not be thought of as a tank, because a tank is an enclosed structure, it should have an open structure that allows growth and the evolutionary development of core structures and related surrounding structures. An organizing structure should develop like a central nervous system develops in nature, through progressive iteration on the theme of nerve cell function in a multi cell network within the context of an organism. The philosophy of the open source software development movement is used below as a starting point for looking at a progressive think tank, which would be more like a think network, or habitat, than a tank in its structure and functioning.
In his 1997 essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, open source evangelist Eric S. Raymond suggests a model for developing OSS known as the Bazaar model. Raymond likens the development of software by traditional methodologies to building a cathedral, "carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation". He suggests that all software should be developed using the bazaar style, which he described as "a great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches out of which a coherent and stable system could seemingly emerge only by a succession of miracles.? Fact is, that the ?coherent and stable systems? Raymond mentions do emerge from Open source software development projects. From Open Source Software article on Wikipedia
The babbling bizarre matches the social environment and dynamics of the progressive movement. So we should try to pick a development method for our intellectual infrastructure that matches structure and dynamics of the movement. From a systems point of view what I see is the majority of the progressive movement being event driven, not systems driven. People who see the events that comprise the list of concerns dealt with in the progressive movement as arising from systems need a way to develop intellectual material that supports a systems change focus and aligns that with the event focused folks that are the engine of change in progressive activism. In the Cathedral model, development takes place in a centralized way.