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The next Ideas Exchange will take place on Thursday 13 February in Rawthmells, the RSA’s 21st century enlightenment coffeehouse and will run from 6.30 - 8.30 pm.


One of the things that binds RSA Fellows together is the sheer number of ideas being generated every day to address the challenges of our time.

Rawthmells exists to provide a space for these ideas to flourish and for Fellows to form collaborations that can bring them to life. The newest initiative in support of this mission is the Ideas Exchange, itself a collaboration with the Great Debaters Club, which is a social enterprise run by Tony Koutsoumbos FRSA that works with individuals, businesses, and charities to harness the power of constructive disagreement.

The Ideas Exchange brings together RSA Fellows and the mix of entrepreneurs, scientists, civil servants, lawyers, marketers, finance professionals, and budding politicians that make up the membership of the Great Debaters Club for a series of round-table conversations on topics chosen by Fellows themselves.

The Exchange is facilitated by experienced moderators to make sure each conversation remains inclusive, enjoyable and on-topic throughout. All you need to do is tell us what you want to talk about and turn up. On arrival, all you need to do is choose the conversation you want to join – which will be assigned to a specific table – and enjoy an evening of stimulating conversation.

Whether your goal is to clarify your own thoughts, hear alternative perspectives, find inspiration and partners for a new collaboration, or test out new approaches to presenting your ideas, the Exchange is there to provide a relaxed and thought-provoking environment for you to achieve them.

The topics up for discussion at the next Ideas Exchange are as follows: 

  1. Should a four-day working week be a legal right?
    The four-day week is not a new idea, with numerous employers across the UK already introducing one, but should it be up to them to decide or should this become the new norm for everyone, backed up by a new law on how many hours employees can legally be required to work? In other words, is the four day week a question of what's best for business or what's best for workers?
  2. Should personal income ever be unconditional?
    The idea of a Universal Basic Income may initially look like a mere extension of state benefits to compensate for the impact of automation on employment. Yet, while state benefits serve a very specific purpose (e.g housing) or come with very specific conditions (e.g. finding a job), the UBI would literally be free money (albeit paid for by taxes). What might we do differently with our lives if we didn't have to earn our keep and should such behaviour be encouraged?
  3. Should reporting staff well-being be mandatory?
    Such is the impact on society of the biggest companies in Britain that they are required to measure and report, among other things, their impact on the climate and the gender pay gap in their workforce. One item not on that list is the mental health and well-being of their staff, despite widespread recognition of the value to businesses of promoting good mental health. Is it possible to measure well-being as accurately as financial performance and should doing so be mandatory?


If you would like to suggest a topic for one of the roundtable conversations at a future event, please email it to Tony Koutsoumbos.


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