Fellows' tools & techniques


"In my work, I have witnessed incredible potential realised simply through the committed action of creative, inspired citizens. The RSA and its Fellows are poised to accomplish similar ongoing success in communities throughout the world, and I am excited to see what is possible in Chattanooga as we continue to collaborate"
- Trey Meyer FRSA, Broken Windows Brigade


(Page last updated: 18 June 2013)

What additional help would you like to see included on this page? Please e-mail Matthew Mezey (RSA Online Community Manager).

The ChangeMakers handbook (pdf) - a collection of RSA tools and techniques
If you want to find out how you can help work with others in your community, download our new ChangeMakers' handbook. Drawing on insights from our research with ChangeMakers in a number of locations and the experiences of RSA staff and Fellows, it's designed to help you work with others to share your skills and connections.

How to run Fellows’ network meetings (return to top)
RSA Networks – how do you set one up?
Deputy Head of Fellowship - Regional/national programme Vivs Long-Ferguson shares her insights on how to set up a successful Fellows’ network.

Network Building 101
US Programme Manager Lynn Broadbent shares how RSA activity in Chattanooga, Tennessee, grew from a meeting of two local Fellows in 2008 - to today’s thriving network of 20 Fellows, all actively engaged in a cluster of social projects.

Running a successful Fellows’ event
David Biggs ran several RSA Fellows’ networks across Kent until May 2012.  He shares his tips and advice on the key to running a successful Fellows’ event.
Sections cover: the idea, take the idea forward, finalising the details, taking the idea and making it happen, a venue, a speaker (speakers, or facilitator), funding, advertisement, refreshments and holding the event.

The Stockport Experiment
Deputy Head of Fellowship - Regional/national programme Vivs Long-Ferguson reports on a meeting of 10 Fellows focusing on the future of Stockport. Covering everything from communities, assets and challenges, interaction and perceptions to the link between regeneration, renewal, arts, localities etc.

Varied formats for meetings/workshops (return to top)
Catalyst-themed workshops – meetings that help turn ideas into action
Catalyst Programme Manager Alex Watson used this presentation at Fellows' network meetings across the UK in 2012 to: get people thinking about new solutions to tackle social problems by talking about Catalyst-supported ventures and its criteria; ask local Catalyst-supported ventures to present; give people with new ideas a structured platform for sharing them, in order to get people to give advice and start collaborating. View the presentation (with additional notes) to help the event organiser/presenter run an event.

How to run an FRSA 'Reboot' event - lightning talks, speed networking and exciting Fellow-led projects
Jemima Gibbons FRSA shares how 60 RSA Fellows enjoyed an evening of lightning talks and speed networking – and heard about a range of innovative and exciting Fellow-led projects.The event used a free 3Space venue in London's Oxford Street. Would Fellows in your area enjoy an event with this format?

Pitch Salon: “either to please or to educate”
Fellowship director for the US Lynn Broadbent shares a networking event that’s a cross between speed networking and TED Talks. It’s a lot of fun and a powerful way to expand personal horizons, share information and connections, and inspire new ways of thinking, says Lynn.

From Chicago… to the RSA: two group facilitation methods to help you put an end to ‘aimless drift’
RSA Online Community Manager Matthew Mezey looks at two methods to catalyse your network of Fellows: the Focused Conversation Method and the Consensus Workshop Method (which is getting increasing use in RSA circles).

Understanding your values – a group exercise (+ new UK values report)
This post by RSA Online Community Manager Matthew Mezey includes instructions - and a worksheet - for an enjoyable brief exercise on values, beliefs and behaviours that really gets people talking and learning about what makes others tick. 

Getting your message out to the RSA Fellowship (return to top)

Apart from online social networks, the RSA Comment website offers an opportunity for Fellows to publish challenging think-pieces.

The fortnightly RSA Fellowship newsletter offers an opportunity to highlight Fellows’ projects, profiles and events. Contact the newsletter’s Editor: Sarah Tucker to see what slots are free.

A fortnightly newsletter summarizing activity across North America is sent to Fellows who live or travel in the US.  To be added to the mailing list contact Barb Ballard.  You can also find all the details of North American activities, including  Fellows’ profiles, details of the Challenge Fund and other useful links at the American Coffee House, www.blog.rsa-us.org. 

How to connect with Fellows online (return to top)
7 ways to become an online Fellow
RSA Online Community Manager Matthew Mezey outlines some ways to reach Fellows online - to promote projects, shares ideas, find collaborators and more.

A more detailed guide is on the RSA online communities guidance page and more helpful information is on the Other social media guides (and blogs) page.

View real-time activity on the RSA online live dashboard.

The RSA Vision mobile app - for RSA videos
The RSA Vision app - for iPhone and Android - enables you to search for videos, browse by categories and compile a playlist of your favourite videos so you can watch them later. (The iPhone app also allows you to listen to audio podcasts).

How to organise a meeting using a live-streamed RSA event video
Since September 2012, every RSA lecture has been available as a live-streamed video - which provides an opportunity to organise Fellow events around a live lecture, or other event, as it happens.
The webpage for any specific event that is being live-streamed will include a link to the ‘Watch live’ page - which will go live around 30 minutes beforehand.  (If you have technical queries about this, or want to live-stream your own Fellowship event, you can speak with: Michelle Tsen or Matthias Laeis).
For more guidence, see our help page for organising a meeting using RSA live-streamed video.

DFID’s top tips for a Google+ Hangout
The RSA Digital Engagement group has started to use Google Hangouts, and has run some enjoyable events - connecting numerous locations. They enable meetings with video (and silly hats), for free. Here the DFID describe an impressive global event they ran. (Thanks to Stef Gray's valuable site The Digital Engagement Guide for this - it's full of techniques, strategies, examples etc).

Funding your project: RSA Catalyst (return to top)

Catalyst webpage
RSA Catalyst supports Fellows’ new ideas to tackle social problems with small grants and support to mobilise Fellows’ expertise. We award grants of £1,000-£5,000 and mobilise Fellows through the Fellowship Networks team, such as through the SkillsBank where hundreds of Fellows have registered their expertise to collaborate with projects.

RSA Catalyst Winners’ Workshop – bringing together Fellows to grow social innovations
Alex Watson, Catalyst Programme Manager, on the first RSA Catalyst Winners’ Workshop.

RSA United States Challenge Fund and Diebold Young Fellows’ Scholarship Program
The RSA-US Challenge Fund works alongside RSA Catalyst to provide support for Fellows’ project and initiatives and encourage network development.  The Diebold Scholarship program makes RSA Fellowship accessible to young Fellows by covering part or all of the Fellowship subscription and also provides mentoring and opportunities for professional development.

Fellows getting active: projects and enterprises (return to top)
ChangeMakers project
A powerful process to identify and support people who make a difference in their community, which was piloted successfully in the UK in 2011 and has genuinely global applicability. Here is a a project brochure about it and here is a report on the pilot.

Students Design Awards - inspiring design-led social change
The RSA Student Design Awards programme asks young designers to demonstrate how the insights and processes of design can increase the resourcefulness of people and communities.
A second Awards programme now exists, with the August 2012 launch of the RSA US Student Design Awards.
(The future may see further programmes launched. If you would like to set up a programme in your country, please get in touch).

Register your expertise with RSA SkillsBank
Your experience can help develop innovative solutions to deliver social change and enhance human capability. RSA SkillsBank is a growing network of individuals inspired to share their knowledge, time and expertise to support others and specific projects. Taking part in SkillsBank offers others the opportunity to collaborate, test ideas, resolve specific challenges, and at the same time gives you the opportunity to broaden your own skills and knowledge.

Currently the RSA are exploring developing specific pilots, often initiated by our Fellows, these include Lilian Baylis Adopt a Student scheme, where Fellows are mentoring students to help their future career options; Churchill Memorial Trust Pilot where we match Churchill Fellows and RSA Fellows to work on specific projects and lastly ensuring that Fellows are connected to RSA Catalyst participants.

Get involved and let us know your skills, expertise and availability by registering online.

Chelmsford wins city status – with help from RSA fellows
Guest blogger Malcolm Noble FRSA talks about how the Fellow-led Changing Chelmsford project helped to Chelmsford win ‘City’ status.
Malcolm is Chair of Changing Chelmsford CIC. Read the Changing Chelmsford report from 2011.

One way RSA Fellows’ networks can help local social enterprises
Alex Watson, RSA Catalyst Programme Manager, reports on an innovative Angels’ Attic evening organised by the RSA Fellows’ Thames Valley Network in Reading. Four organisations each had 25 minutes to get input from Fellows on the challenges faced by their start-up social enterprise or increasingly-entrepreneurial charity.

Getting people together isn’t the challenge – it’s getting things done…
The curiosity, enthusiasm and trepidation at the launch of a new Fellows’ network soon gives way to ideas for how to make a difference locally and Fellows leave full of optimism for what the network can achieve. Andy  Kirke looks at the emergence of the Banbury Fellows’ network.

If only you could bottle it! Reflections on a year in the Spotlight and the Social Entrepreneurs Network so far…
Sarah Tucker, Fellowship Communications and Events Manager, looks at the first and pilot year of Social Enterprise Spotlight.

Understanding the structure of the RSA Fellowship (return to top)
27,000 Fellows; 260+ Catalyst applications; 80+ networks: We’re stepping up support for more
Head of Fellowship Michael Ambjorn outlines the new structure of the RSA Fellowship - and the support it offers to Fellows.

RSA Connectors network worldwide
RSA Connectors is a new and growing network of RSA Fellows worldwide who act as a first port-of-call and a ‘friendly face’ for new Fellows who want to find out more and get involved, and who help local Fellows to organise events and collaborate on projects.
If your country does not yet have its own RSA Connector, you can apply to become a Connector by e-mailing: Matthew Mezey (RSA Online Community Manager).

Here is the RSA Fellowship homepage

New Fellows’ Evenings at John Adam Street (UK) (return to top)
Get Involved!
Deputy Head of Fellowship - Specialist team Jamie Cooke - based in Scotland - shares his first experience of an RSA New Fellows evening at the the RSA’s London headquarters.

Fellows meet Fellows: new contacts, new beginnings
Fellowship programme coordinator Lou Matter’s report from another New Fellows Evening.

Fellow-led thematic networks (return to top)
Changing the world, one network at a time
Jamie Cooke attends the launch of the RSA Fellows’ Public Service Reform (Scotland) Network in Edinburgh.
The advantage that thematic networks offer is that they bring together Fellow-led projects which might otherwise occur in isolation, uniting them in a network where findings and best practice can be shared across the world.  In contrast to geographic networks they are not bound to one location, but rather can explore priorities as they arise within their particular area of interest.

If there are additional resources you would like to see included on this page, please e-mail Matthew Mezey (RSA Online Community Manager).