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You are about to read a totally fresh joke – I made it up just now. Excited? Here it is

 My friend and I were offered a job looking after nuclear missiles.

But we turned it down.

We knew we’d just end up working in silos.

OK, now pick yourself up off the floor and read on…

Here at the RSA we have long been trying to achieve better connections between the different strands of work here (I don’t care what you say I am not, absolutely not, using the word ‘synergy’).  It’s nice when it happens.

Tonight the subject of my annual lecture is enlightened enterprise. Also, spurred on by the Chair of the RSA Trustees, Luke Johnson, we are developing a programme of research and development projects around aspects of enterprise.

And last night saw the third quarterly event of the Social Entrepreneurs Network. The evening focused on finance options for social enterprises. More than 90 people attended and there was a real buzz in the room.  Geoff Burnand from Charity Bank spoke and was followed by an interview with some of the star Fellows involved in the network, Phil Conway and Malcolm Scovil who shared their experiences and offered tips having recently acquired funding.  We then had breakout groups led by staff from Social Finance, UnLtd, ClearlySo and Arrival Education.

The evening was a successful blend of interviews, discussion, learning and networking.  Two of our most active Fellows, Alex Johns and Dan Snell, from the Social Entrepreneurs Network led and organised the event and many other Fellows contributed but there were also non-Fellows there some of whom seemed interested in applying for membership.  

When the RSA brings together research, with the platform we provide for ideas and – most important – the activity of our Fellows - we are able to look at an issue and explore models of change in greater depth than more conventional organisations.  We have similar scope for multi-level programmes and interventions in other areas, like place-shaping, education and design.

And when people really collaborate I am inclined to consider them for a salary bonus. Why? Well, just call it the wages of synergy.


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