Long live the maker revolution

October 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Enterprise 

This is a guest blog by Helen Kemp, Founder of Just Got Made. JGM is a directory that links creative small businesses with hand-picked suppliers and producers. Find out more at www.justgotmade.com

We are at the forefront of a Maker Revolution! This time around it’s not about large factories but involves thousands of talented individuals; craftspeople, designers, artists and makers, working from their dining room table or studio desk.

There needs to be a new way for companies to connect, to reach each other in this new landscape of cottage industries working on a global scale. And that’s where Just Got Made fits in. We are part of the toolkit for the next generation of makers.

I grew up in the London suburbs, obsessed with the 90’s grunge scene and immersed in the alternative cultures running through music, fashion, photography and art. The DIY ethos of independent culture got into my blood and instilled in me the conviction that independence is a powerful driver of creativity.

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The role of men in supporting women into leadership

October 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fellowship 

This blog was originally posted on the College of Arts & Humanities, University of Brighton, blog. Read the original post. This comes in advance of next week’s event run by RSA Brighton and Hove. Find out more or and book your place at the event.

What role should men play in supporting more women into leadership?

Following on from the success of RSA Brighton and Hove’s recent How Women Lead event, this follow-up talk is chaired by CEO of Brighton & Hove City Council Penny Thompson CBE. A deliberately-chosen all-male panel will contribute their views and take audience questions in this lively debate.

Contributing their views and taking audience questions in this lively debate are:

  • Simon Fanshawe OBE, writer and broadcaster
  • Michael Edwards, CEO, Albion in the Community
  • Giles York, Chief Constable, Sussex Police
  • Richard Upton, CEO, Cathedral Group
  • James Rowlands, Brighton & Hove Violence against Women Commissioner.

This event is open to both Fellows and non-Fellows and the bar is open from 6.30pm to 9.30pm – book your place now. You can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #howwomenlead. This event is organised by Brighton and Hove RSA in partnership with the University of Brighton College of Arts and Humanities.

What role should men play in supporting more women into leadership? Pre-event Q&A

“Structures are in place to enable women to succeed, however, we sometimes struggle to hold the managers to account to ensure they abide by the structures with creating a flexible working place that accommodates different needs at different times.”

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UniverCities – making the most of our existing assets to power growth

The UniverCities report will be published 14 October with a launch event in Cardiff. If you’d like to attend, register here.

The UK’s higher education sector is worth over £73 billion to the economy. As many as 757,268 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs have been created by the sector, of which 320,000 are staff directly employed by universities. In 2011, higher education contributed 2.8 percent of UK GDP. Reeling off these stats together it is clear that the higher education sector already plays a strong role in economic growth. In our upcoming report, UniverCities: the knowledge to power metro growth, we will propose ways that universities can enhance their economic impact at a local level.

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Two minutes to explain why big is finished and small is powerful

September 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Adam Lent 

Here’s a two minute video of me explaining the idea behind my planned book – Small is Powerful: why the era of big business, big government and big culture is over (and why it’s a good thing). If you pop over to the crowd funding site you can see a chapter outline and a whole chapter. Most importantly, you can pledge to make sure the publication can go ahead, get your name in the book and pre-order a copy.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

Can spirituality inform public policy? Yes, no, and maybe.

September 29, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Social Brain 

If spirit is a name for the resistant and transcending faculties of the agent, we can spiritualize society. We can diminish the distance between who we are and what we find outside of ourselves. - Roberto Unger, The Self Awakened p38.

A few months ago I wrote an extended post about the relationship between the spiritual and the political. The pied piper of our generation, Russell Brand, momentarily adopted it as part of his ‘revolution in consciousness’, tweeted approvingly to his millions, and thousands followed his tune to our website. Happy days.

The political dimension of spirituality is exciting because it’s ‘the vision thing’, it’s about being human, about who we are and what we care about. It’s depth and values and hope and how it all fits together. Moreover, as noted above, it is intellectually safe terrain because even heavyweight philosophers like Roberto Unger take it seriously.

The elusive place where the spiritual meets the political is perhaps the experience of life many of us are looking for; a place where the possibilities for your own power and place in the world make sense. When you are living in that place, life tends to be much more rewarding. For instance, I was heavily involved in Scotland’s recent referendum and campaigning felt distinctly spiritual, a way of connecting identity with meaning and purpose. There was an intense feeling of aliveness for many weeks, which is, etymologically at least, close to the heart of the spiritual.

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The Big Idea: National Saturday Club

Support the UK’s next creative generation

This is a guest blog from the team at National Saturday Club. They’re looking for Fellows in the design, architecture and engineering industries who may be able to offer masterclasses, visits or creative career guidance, as well as Fellows who can introduce young people to their cultural institutions.

The National Art & Design Saturday Club provides young people aged 14-16 with the unique opportunity to study art and design every Saturday morning at their local college or university for free. Now in its sixth year, the Saturday Club runs in 41 locations across the UK, in colleges, universities and at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Read more

Building the Social Enterprises of Tomorrow

September 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Enterprise, Fellowship, Innovation 

dataEmma Cheshire FRSA
Emma Cheshire is a Fellow of The RSA and also Programme Director for Dotforge Social Ventures Accelerator.  Read about the DotForge accelerator programme and find out how you can get involved.

Can you see a social challenge that can be solved using technology? Have you been itching to use smart software platforms to make other people’s lives better? Do you have a social venture, charity or voluntary organisation that could help more people if you built your own digital product?

The RSA, working in partnership with Dotforge accelerator and Key Fund have developed a pilot accelerator and incubator to support social entrepreneurs in building digital products and services designed to address social challenges. Read more

We need a vision of a more equal society that allows mass creativity to flourish not be stifled

September 27, 2014 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Adam Lent 

[The themes in this post will be explored in my book, Small is Powerful: Why the era of big government, big business and big culture is over (and why it’s a good thing). I'm crowd-funding for the book, so you can pre-order and help make sure it gets published here.]

There aren’t many people left in the political mainstream who think huge disparities of wealth and income are a good thing.

Or if there are, they keep mighty quiet about it.

The truth is, left, right and middle all accept that in the years before the Crash something went wrong. Policy-makers agree that it is morally indefensible for speculators to earn tens of millions a year while hard-working people doing a meaningful job find it tough to pay for life’s necessities. They concur that in a society where the wealthy and the middle earner live such utterly different lives, mutual incomprehension and suspicion can only grow. Even the originator of the famous quote himself admits that the days when we could be “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich” are long gone.

So we all want greater equality now but we rarely ask ourselves what type of equality. No question, however, could have a bigger impact on the actions we might take to secure that fairer world.

We need to recognise that we have to choose between a small equality and a big equality. Read more

How the next general election will be decided

September 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Enterprise 

In 2010, Governor Martin O’Malley stood for re-election in a poor year for Democrats. He was facing a strong challenge from his Republican opponent and the financial crisis and its economic and fiscal aftermath was hitting Maryland hard. He set about making an argument for how Maryland was going to confront this challenge which went along the following lines: we have to make tough choices together but if we do then we will build a better future for ourselves and our children.

It worked. Despite enormous fiscal retrenchment, O’Malley went from a seven point win in 2006 to a fourteen point win despite having raised taxes significantly in his first term and the fact that the tide was against Democratic governors.

He had a strong record to defend on four critical fronts and his campaign argument reinforced his credibility. He had taken and was planning to continue taking responsible action on the deficit. He had cut college fees and ensured the burden of pain was fairly spread, not least by the introduction of a more progressive tax code, a state living wage and by overshooting the target for registration for health insurance. This was the fairness aspect of his case. Then there was opportunity. He created a new labour exchange, a venture fund which has invested in and attracted high growth firms, and promotion of the state college sector. Finally, there is authority. O’Malley took a grip of the situation, he changed the way government functioned with new transparency and a ‘dash-board’ approach (where performance of key services was easily accessible), and brought the management of critical state projects in-house.

O’Malley’s story is a fascinating one. It is a model of modern governance. It also has wider political application. The four components of his success – responsibility, fairness, opportunity, authority – are the four bases of political success more generally. They are a framework through which any political argument can be judged. The proportional importance between them shifts from context to context and election to election. Indeed, the proportions can be shifted by the political argument itself. However, it is the frame through which any political party or leader is judged. If a party leads on three out of four bases, they are almost certain to win.

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Why the self-employed need to wake up to the threat posed by Universal Credit

September 25, 2014 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized 

In theory Universal Credit is a dream policy. The idea has been to streamline the welfare system, rolling six means-tested benefits into one so that work will always pay. UC is also intended to make the transition in and out of benefits more seamless, and as such accommodate workers whose income fluctuates and who find themselves flitting between jobs. In 2012 DWP estimated that an extra 300,000 more workless households would move into employment as a result of UC, and that it would save £38bn over 12 years from its inception.

Yet as we all know, the hype has not lived up to reality. Universal Credit has proven to be something of a nightmare. Indeed, it is hard to overstate the problems that have beset this flagship welfare scheme. IT failures, civil servant departures and a lack of departmental resources are just a few of the reasons for Universal Credit’s woes. Such are the challenges facing the £2.4bn scheme that the Major Projects Authority in Whitehall decided it needed to be ‘reset’ in 2013, while £34m of new IT assets had to be written off as a result of unexpected difficulties. To top this off, a damning National Audit Office report noted that ‘throughout the programme the Department [DWP] has lacked a detailed view of how Universal Credit is meant to work’.

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