Over the last few years we have focused on gathering as much feedback as possible from Fellows - each month we survey a section of the Fellowship to find out how we are doing and ask what we could improve. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond, your comments have revealed several important themes. Here are the steps that we have taken to address them in 2015:
In February we launched a brand new website designed specifically to help the Fellowship become better connected, as this was identified as the number one priority for Fellows. Every member of the network can now build an online profile for themselves, through which they can search for others according to interests, skills, location or key word, and send direct messages. The ‘Find a Fellow’ tool is a great way to find out who lives in your area, get help with a project or make interesting contacts outside of your sector.
The online profiles also allow all Fellows to manage their personal details. If you need to change your job title, address or phone number you can now do it yourself via the ‘my account’ part of your profile. Any changes will feed through to our database and ensure you don’t miss out on any RSA communications.
Almost 4,000 Fellows have now updated their profiles. If you haven’t had a chance to complete your own, you can find out more here.
Making our research more engaging
We have taken steps this year to make our research more accessible. A number of reports have been accompanied by an RSA Insights video, where you have the opportunity to hear from the author. Blogs offering a summary of the main findings and infographics have also provided more digestible ways to share our insights with a wider audience and we are experimenting with creative routes such as quizzes. Our recent report on Universal Basic Income comes with a quick guide which gives a broad overview of the outcomes.
More Fellowship events
We have listened to feedback recommending that we hold more regional events outside of London. This year, 300 regional events were delivered and supported by the Regional team. 220 of these were organised by Fellows and Council members and we have ventured to parts of the UK and Ireland where there has never been any Fellowship activity, such as St Ives and Cork.
The breadth of Fellowship events this year has been unprecedented. Alongside our Engage series, Fellows have formed thriving networks around topics such as mindfulness, performing arts and the future of work. We formed a valuable strategic partnership with Impact Hub and we have trialled breakfast meetings for new Fellows. Into next year we’ll be piloting a random meetup project to help Fellows in remoter areas make connections.
Our RSA Global team have also piloted virtual meetups with Fellows across Canada, and they have worked with Impact Hub in Japan to facilitate some productive conversations about how Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games can have lasting social impact. This is merely the tip of the iceberg.
More Fellows are involved in our research
Following the RSA’s strategic review we pledged to involve more Fellows in our research so there is now an active Project Engagement Team embedded across our three key areas of work: Creative Learning and Development; Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing; and Public Services and Communities. They are helping to realise the RSA’s ‘Power to Create’ approach by harnessing the skills and expertise of the Fellowship and providing clear pathways to engage.
Creative Learning and Development has witnessed the creation of the exciting Innovative Education Network. This growing network of over 200 expert Fellows is applying itself to the diverse range of challenges facing education. In Enterprise, Economy and Manufacturing, Fellows have been closely involved in helping to shape the RSA’s thinking on Self-Employment by contributing to research reports, commenting on the forthcoming RSA Self-Employment Charter and attending a roundtable with experts and government officials.
One of the year’s biggest successes in terms of nationwide impact, was the launch of the RSA Heritage Index, led by the Public Services and Communities team. The index was devised to show communities how they can use local heritage to improve their social and economic wellbeing. Supporting the project, Fellows formed a network of heritage ambassadors who facilitated important practical initiatives - from conversations with council leaders to workshops with civic groups and residents.
More support for Fellow-led projects
Now in its fifth year, RSA Catalyst has launched a new scaling grant and continues to offer seed funding to diverse FRSA projects that are committed to growing social impact. Robert Ashton’s Swarm Apprenticeships won the inaugural £10,000 award for its accredited enterprise apprenticeship scheme which helps young people access work opportunities. Our Kickstarter platform continues to be successful, this year 90% of our FRSA crowdfunding campaigns achieved their target. Among them, Massive Small rallied more backers than any other FSRA campaign, launching Kelvin Campbell's global movement for building better urban societies.
More networking spaces in RSA House
In late 2014 we surveyed over 3,000 Fellows who had shown an interest in the development of RSA House so that we could better understand what areas required improvement. The results of the survey were published in May and show that Fellows would like more spaces to network and collaborate. As a result we have formed a House Development Committee who are now liaising with architects to understand what the best use of space would be and what structural changes are feasible.
We are striving to continually improve the experience of Fellowship and in 2016 we’ll build on the changes outlined here. As always, we value your thoughts on what we could do better – in February we’ll be sending around a survey to all Fellows so if you’re new to the network this is an opportunity to tell us how we can improve.