Back from America - RSA

Back from America


  • Social networks

Sorry about a longer gap between blogs than usual. I spent most of last week as the guest of RSA USA and am currently writing this on a train.

We have had some really interesting comments on our RSA Networks blog, and the team and I will be responding to those later in the week.

But in the meantime, back to the US!

It was a fascinating visit combining discussions with Fellows and potential partners about our ambitions for the USA chapter with the Stateside launch of our work on personal carbon trading.

Thanks to all the American Trustees who took such good care of us on our visit.

In Frank Spring we have an ambitious new National Director and I have no doubt that over the next months we will see a strong programme emerging in the USA, including, I hope, some joint lecture and debate series in which we look at key issues from opposite sides of the Atlantic.

Apart from Iraq, the key policy issues in the race for the Presidential nominations are health, immigration and the environment.

In the health debate Michael Moore has made his filmic contribution to exposing the weaknesses of the US system while Rudy Giuliani has made a scathing (and inaccurate) attack on the outcomes of the NHS.

On these issues and also education, where criticism of Bush's 'no child left behind' initiative matches growing unease at the test-driven English approach, there is scope for the RSA to host a rich US/UK dialogue.

I am also keen to explore a lecture series focussing on my own new obsession: understanding and developing human intelligence.

And moving closer to home...

A couple of weeks ago we partnered up with the Society Guardian to launch Meet The Dragons, a unique investment fund to encourage and celebrate innovation in social care.

In a format familiar to many from a certain TV programme of a similar name, a shortlist of the most interesting ways of addressing the needs of older people, children and others will face a panel of experts (including myself as Dragon-in-Residence) with a pot of money, consultancy and practical support to help the best ones grow.

A group of social care leaders is helping us have this conversation in what has been, for too long, a neglected area of provision.

I've written before in this blog about how the RSA's Fellowship can be a unique and very powerful network for fostering and sharing civic innovation in the real world.

This is exactly the sort of event which can combine experiences of making change happen with our Fellows' expertise in a way that will enrich both our work, at 8 John Adam Street, and inspire and support a wide network of social innovators.

If you think you're already working on a winning project, get applying.

Meet The Dragons is also a chance to get to grips with the realities of developing citizen-centred approaches to the challenges of modern life.

Social care is a classic example of what was traditionally seen as a "delivery" service. But changing demographics and a recognition that the way social care is commissioned and delivered needs to be different has thrust transformation to the top of the agenda.

Now Carers UK estimates that every day another six thousand of us take on caring responsibilities. This is a challenge that affects all of us - visit our website for more information.

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