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These are exciting times for the RSA. Building on its centuries-old tradition of tackling the most pressing challenges society faces at any given time, the institution is sharpening its focus on solving complex systemic issues in a number of key areas.

This move to targeted, far-reaching, longer-term programmes of work will enable us all, Fellows, the RSA staff team, and other partners and stakeholders, to go beyond reports and recommendations, and achieve lasting impacts across key issues society faces - like the need to reshape our concept of ‘good work’ in response to demographic, technological, and economic change.

As members of the RSA’s Fellowship Council, we represent the voice of Fellows within the RSA’s Governance structure, and we wanted to share with you some of the recent progress that has been made in shaping the RSA of the future. Fellows are the heart of the RSA, and as real-world impact comes to the fore of the RSA’s strategy, Fellows have never been more important. 

Members of the Fellowship Council have been participating in the development of a new set of ways of working for the RSA. Part of this has involved starting to think about the ways in which the RSA can better support Fellows to create impact, and how Fellows can engage more deeply with the RSA’s programmes of work, and with each other.

The RSA is in a privileged position as an organisation whose members are incredibly loyal, value-driven, and a force for good in our society. The 30,000 Fellows who make up this community share a commitment to helping make the world a better place, through ideas and action. Part of the next phase of the change programme the RSA is going through will involve ensuring that the ways in which Fellows are supported and enabled to connect with each other, with the RSA’s work, and with wider society to create impact are fit for purpose.

We’ve been working with staff teams across two interconnected work streams: 

  • The Fellowship offer and journey - how can the RSA support a growing and more satisfied, engaged, and diverse Fellowship, making an impact in their communities and around the world?
  • The RSA’s digital offer - how can we maximise the opportunities digital technologies offer for better engagement, connection, and collaboration?

The aim of these two work streams is to improve the experience Fellows have and to develop a Fellowship offer that supports the RSA’s programmatic work and impact.

The key to getting this right is understanding the experiences, needs, wants, and gaps in support existing and potential Fellows have. So, the first phase of this work will involve a piece of research designed to gain a fuller picture of the current Fellowship and the potential Fellowship of the future. This will be followed by a design phase in which we seek to develop new Fellowship journeys and experiences - not a one-size-fits-all approach, but something that works for a range of different kinds of Fellow needs.

This research phase will involve work to listen, learn, and understand Fellows’ experiences, and of course, Fellows will be at the heart of this process. However, it’s important that this work is done independently to ensure that it enables a wide range of Fellow voices to be heard. We, as representatives from the Fellowship Council, are part of the development of this programme of work and will continue to update Fellows through a series of blogs as the work progresses.

In addition to the independent research, we’d love to get Fellows talking about this and sharing ideas - so we’ve posted an idea to the Rawthmell’s Fuel For Thought Platform here - if you’ve got thoughts, questions, or suggestions, please do share them over there and we’ll make sure they’re fed into the workstream as it develops.

We’ll be back with further updates as the work progresses.


Peter Clitheroe is Deputy Chair of the Fellowship Council and Lucy Griffiths is a Fellowship Councillor and Fellowship representative on the RSA Trustee Board.

 

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