An idea from Eden


I’m at an event for the great and good (and me) at the Eden Project. Some great people here, most of whom have done important things to try to promote sustainability. Unfortunately, we’ve spent quite a lot of time trying to agree how to work together. We’ve decided now on a kind of Dragon’s Den process in which we break up into groups, develop an idea and try to sell it to the rest of the group. My contribution has been to say that we should focus on what value this particular group can add to all the types of activity taking place already. I might do an extra post tomorrow to report how it’s gone.

The high point so far was a small exhibition of community based projects here in the South West. They ranged from the Transition Movement, which is now global but began in the UK town of Totnes, to a really impressive community regeneration project in Falmouth. Listening to the exhibitors talking about their projects I was reminded of my current obsession: encouraging the RSA Fellowship to work together to make a difference in the world. I was really pleased at the commitment to this idea of the first meeting of the Fellowship Council on Wednesday but the difficult question is, of course, how?

We have tried various approaches that get Fellows together to develop projects but while there are good ideas, the problem is that there is still too big a gap between the good intentions and the capacity to do something about it. So, I wondered whether a city network might try something rather like the exhibition here at the Eden Forum -  inviting a number of innovative community projects to present to a group of Fellows identifying the ways their work could develop or be replicated.

This could provide the concrete challenge that might spark Fellows to think about how we can combine our resources to make a difference. To do something like this the city network would need to be confident that enough Fellows would come with a real openness to taking ideas forward. To be fair, we would probably have to cover the costs of the groups coming to the event and making their presentations – but this shouldn’t be much.

Could this be a runner? Is there a city group out there that might take it forward and if they did what support could we give from John Adam Street? (By the way it’s only my idea, so I’m more than happy if colleagues back at HQ comment - even to say it wouldn’t work!)

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