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To what extent is Paradigm Academy a front organization for, or a covert rebrand of Leverage Research?

by anonymoose1 min read1st Sep 20194 comments

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When a brand name becomes toxic, a common (and nontransparent) strategy is to hide that company's failures by changing its name. Worse is to create a new company with similar staff and mission without giving any indication of the history of the preceding organization.

Based on staffing, there is some evidence that this is what Paradigm Academy is doing for Leverage Research, as per my answer below. Does anyone have further evidence that can help with answering this question?

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3 Answers

An analysis of personnel is an incomplete and non-definitive answer but ought to be a useful starting point.

Paradigm Academy does not list its team on its website. However, a quick search on Linkedin yields 16 results (13 with public profiles) for staff of Paradigm Academy. Of these 13, 7 indicate that they have worked for Leverage Research or allied organizations, and a further 4 are well-known to have worked for Leverage Research.

Leverage Research, Paradigm Academy and Reserve:

One person

Leverage Research and Paradigm Academy

Five people

Paradigm Academy and Reserve:

Three people

Paradigm Academy only:

Two people

Paradigm Academy and Bismarck Analysis:

Two people

My impression is that Paradigm is a spin off from Leverage Research. Where Leverage functions as a think tank for producing research, Paradigm is a training organization, which draws somewhat from Leverage’s research. They seem to have separate staff, though as you say, staff often seem to move between them. You might expect people to move from one to the other if you think it’s a good idea for someone to do some research which then prepares them for teaching that research. Having organisations branching off from each other when some members want to pursue some new mission seems relatively common – to take an example I know about (because I was involved in it), the initial researchers at the Global Priorities Institute were all employees of FHI until GPI split off from FHI.

Hopefully this will be clearer when Leverage launches a website of its own.

[Epistemic status: Talked to Geoff a month ago about the state of Leverage, trying to remember the details of what was said, but not super confident I am getting everything right]

My sense is that I would not classify Leverage Research as having been disbanded, though it did scale down quite significantly and does appear to have changed shape in major ways. Leverage Research continues to exist as an organization with about 5 staff, and continues to share a very close relationship with Paradigm Academy, though I do believe that those organizations have become more distinct recently (no longer having any shared staff, and no longer having any shared meetings, but still living in the same building and both being led by Geoff).