Our purpose

21st century enlightenment: Enriching society through ideas and action

Our focus, the scope of our activities

The RSA has over its 260 year history focused on a wide range of issues. Our current focus is in the following areas:

Public service and communities

  • Innovation in governance, service design, organisational change and civic engagement
  • Enabling people to take an active role in solving problems in their own communities

Learning and creativity

  • We seek to realize the potential of all learners by understanding and enhancing human capability
  • Raising educational attainment through school improvement and creative teaching
  • Promoting arts and creativity

Enterprise, design and manufacturing

  • Understanding and promoting entrepreneurship
  • Promoting sustainable and innovative forms of design and manufacture
  • Fostering the next generation of socially responsible designers

Our method, how we do this

We seek out enlightened thinking and put it to work in practical ways

Engaging a diverse network: We nurture and engage a network of Fellows, employees and partners that is proactive, intellectually curious, entrepreneurial and diverse.

Tapping into many skills: The breadth of our interests, networks and methods give us a range of competencies including horizon scanning, generating debate, primary and secondary research, civic engagement, practical innovation and enterprise development.

Identifying great ideas: The global reach of the RSA, our independence and our broad and multidisciplinary networks means we can identify emerging new challenges and spot and curate powerful new ideas.

Testing and growing: Our mission is not merely to commentate or to recommend to others but to develop and wherever possible rigorously test practical, scalable, solutions.

Promoting and sharing: Through its unique networks the RSA seeks to make its ideas and innovations available as inspiration, opportunity, and resource to all.

Our values and standards

Our ability to fulfill our purpose is dependent on how we work and the culture we create.

Independent and creative: We value the quality and rigour of ideas, not where they come from or allegiance to any ideology. We take imaginative new approaches to solving problems and believe in the power of design and creativity to effect change.

Practical and resourceful: We try things out and are prepared to fail in the pursuit of what works, learning from everything that we do. We make intelligent use of our resources by building on what works already, trusting people - especially our employees and Fellows - and treating them as assets.

Consistent and demanding: All our work is aligned with our social purpose, and we do not take on work that conflicts with our mission or values. We aspire to global excellence in all our work and make products and services we want to use and promote ourselves.

Respectful and philanthropic: We value other people's work and wisdom, treat them with respect and do not attack or steal the work of others. We judge ourselves by the contribution we make to society not by the benefits we gain as an organisation.