Interesting responses to my post yesterday; both as comments and direct e-mails to me. Some eyebrows were raised at me being so explicit about the challenges the RSA faces. Apart from wanting genuinely to engage Fellows, there is a wider reason why I am committed to openness.
One of the problems with accountability and trust in modern society is that every organisation (private, public and third sector) feels the need to say how wonderful it is in every way. This means it is often very hard for taxpayers, customers, shareholders or the public to get a handle on what is really going on. The best recent example of this was the banks. The risks they were taking with various complex financial investments were in their annual reports but the information was expressed blandly and hidden behind all the propaganda about their successes and social responsibility.
In the post credit crunch world leaders to balance the need to project their organisation positively with the duty to give an accurate and frank account of challenges and risks.
On the issue of the Fellowship, the discussion around my post has identified some important issues for our new Fellowship Council to address. These include:
* What level of Fellowship engagement is it realistic and reasonable to expect ?
* Is Fellowship engagement primarily a function of top down initiatives that Fellows choose to engage with or about creating the scope for Fellows to develop their own ideas and initiative and get buy in from the Scoiety?
* Related to this, is the key quality to Fellowship apart from its staus, the connection to, and support of, what we do at JSA (lectures, web, Journal, projects) or is it access to the network of other Fellows?
We are pleased so far with the turnout in the Fellowship Council election, but there is still plenty of time for people to vote. The election is important because the Council will need, from the start, to get to grips with some big questions.