A big week at the RSA: any questions?
The RSA has been busier than I’ve ever known it this week. We’ve had Richard Florida giving the President’s lecture; a day of robust debate on generation enterprise; Matthew’s annual lecture, which for my money was his best yet; and last night a fantastic evening of events showcasing the RSA’s work — including the brand new RSA Animate.
Throughout the week I’ve also been talking about some of the ways that the RSA and its Fellows are working to bring about social change. I started on Monday by explaining our ambition to make the RSA the best place to have an idea. Then I told you about our developing work on enterprise and young people, and how we’re hoping to involve our partners and Fellows in it. Finally, I wrote about our approach to social networks, and how those insights to inform our drug and alcohol recovery projects.
As ever with our work, there’s much more to say: on Monday we’re launching a major new design project, the Great Recovery, which aims to bring together everyone involved in the lifecycle of a product to design out waste. In a blog next week, I’ll also be talking about some exciting opportunities for Fellows to contribute to our work in education.
In the meantime, though, we wanted to close this week by focusing on our Fellows – the 27,000 people who support our work and contribute to it in their communities. This morning we’re holding a meeting of the Social Entrepreneurs’ network, which over the last couple of years has brought together brilliant people working in social business, and helped them learn from each other.
One of the key Fellows from that group, Trudy Thompson, will be joining in a Twitter Q&A at 2pm today, which is a chance for you to ask some of the questions that might have bubbled up over the course of this week. Trudy runs (and Tweets as) @bricksandbread, which is her social enterprise supporting sustainable businesses by giving experts a place to share their knowledge.
We’ve also invited Dan Thompson (@artistsmakers) who — if he can make contact from his train! — can tell you all about his brand new project. In case he gets stuck in a tunnel, I’ll give you a quick overview: We Will Gather is an ingenious new website, launched on Tuesday, that makes it easier to organise events that help people volunteer, fundraise, and do good work in their communities using Twitter. Inspired by his experience of sparking off the cleanup after last years’ riots, Dan wanted to make it easy for people to make something good happen with the minimum of fuss.
As well as Dan and Trudy, we’ll be joined by Gaia Marcus (@la_gaia) our social network analysis expert, who can tell you more about how the RSA is exploring communities by understanding their connections. Last night she was showing off Social Mirror, a Nominet-funded RSA project she’s leading to develop cutting-edge tools for just that purpose.
Ben Dellot (@BenedictDel), who wrote our report this week on the informal economy and organised our workshop with young entrepreneurs will be on hand to talk about his research, and any other aspects of our enterprise programme. And finally, Sevra Davis (@RSADesignAwards) can answer your questions about the RSA student design awards, which challenge students to put their design skills to a socially-beneficial use.
I hope you’ll join them at 2pm on the Twitter hashtag #RSAFriday, and find out more about how social change happens at the RSA. For now, though, I want to leave you with a vote of thanks. This week has been all about explaining and celebrating the work that happens at the RSA. Nothing we do would happen without the support of our Fellows, our partners, and the people who read, discuss and shout about our work. We hope it’s been half as enjoyable for you as it has for us.