I am really looking forward to tonight’s RSA event. We are awarding Simon Duffy of In Control with the Albert Medal.
The Albert and Benjamin Franklin medals are an established part of RSA history, but they lacked distinctiveness and profile. The problem was twofold. One the one hand the medals have tended to be given to the kinds of figures who already have a stack of such honours. On the other hand, there wasn’t much clarity about the criteria for their award.
So, after some reflection with our wise Trustees and in keeping with the traditions of RSA , we have decided that the Albert Medal should be awarded to an individual who has contributed to social innovation, while the Benjamin Franklin should be awarded to an individual who has contributed to enlightenment thinking.
Without being too rigid we foresee the Albert Medal usually going to a UK citizen, and preferably a Fellow while the BF Medal will be more international in its focus. And while the medals will go to people of achievement we want to try to aim for people who are not as established and for whom the medal might lead to a wider acknowledgement of their work. Simon (an FRSA) is an amazing man whose work has leading to what has been described a revolution in social care. Just last week the work of his organisation In Control was strongly endorsed in a major DEMOS report and before Christmas the Government confirmed that an idea that just three years ago was considered wildly idealistic and experimental is now at the centre of social care policy. I think there are still some places for Simon’s lecture tonight, so do join us for a great lecture and a new beginning for RSA’s Albert Medal.
P.S. Keep the pro-social experiment ideas coming. I see the lane blocking idea is controversial. That’s fine If we could do the book that Ian Gilmour and I have written about maybe each idea could be accompanied by a short expert assessment of its pros and cons?
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Just to say what a privilege it was to see the over-modest Simon Duffy last night. He's a really inspiring example of someone who was blessed with an ability to take old ways of doing things and turn them on their side (though he made it clear that at the time that gift felt like a bit of a burden).
It's interesting that you say these medals are for individuals, MT. Simon Duffy is a great example of a visionary, but innovation often comes through collaborations and cross-fertilisations. Could we hold it open to award these medals to networks and collectives who've achieved great things in social innovation?