Fellowship Digital Services - Sprint notes 1-2 - RSA

Fellowship Digital Services: Alpha Phase Sprint notes 1-2

Fellowship news 2 Comments

  • Digital
  • Fellowship
  • Global
  • Technology

What does the digital ecosystem look like that improves the ease and frequency of opportunity for Fellows to engage with the RSA and with other Fellows, and meets the diverse needs of the Fellowship?

The RSA is undertaking a 6-month agile, user-centred project to define a clear end-to-end digital ecosystem for Fellows supported by research, insights and prototype solutions that are tested and iterated with Fellows.

In the first two Sprints we have focussed on bringing together existing research, defining our project plan clearly and mapping and agreeing our main hypotheses.


Building on recent research profiling the different needs of our Fellows as well as the Fellow-led Digital Summit in 2020, the target digital ecosystem will seek to “improve the ease and frequency of opportunity to engage with the RSA and with other Fellows” and meet the diverse needs of Fellows.

A joined-up, sustainable online experience which is clearly signposted and easy to use will support an improved sense of Fellowship community online, ease of communication and a mix of bitesize and deeper engagement options that empower RSA Fellows and improve the RSA’s ability to support them.

The project is running from June-December 2021 and is committed to putting the needs of Fellows first. We will engage Fellows throughout the project with regular ‘Show & Ask’ sessions and targeted workshops, in addition to ongoing communication and updates about the project.


The Fellowship Digital Services project is a 6-month agile project consisting of 13 two-week Sprints. The first Sprint kicked off on 21st June 2021.

The core team for the project consists of Laura Payne, Head of Fellowship Areas and Engagement, Chris Ward, Head of Digital, Elle Tweedy, Digital Service Design Lead Consultant and Laura Jackson, Area Communications Coordinator, supporting with user research. Supporting the core team at certain moments in the project will be a Data Analyst and Content Designer. The project is being overseen by a Steering Group with representation from the Trustee Board, Fellowship Council and Executive team.


  • A tested (as live as possible) end-to-end Alpha.
  • Recommendations for the future end-to-end solution, including user experience, UI, content and service design.
  • A prioritised backlog and roadmap for moving work forward into beta and beyond.
  • Buy-in and support from internal stakeholders, external stakeholders and partners / providers.
  • Increased capability to work in agile, user centred ways to improve services.

Fellowship Digital Services project

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Current issues and our hypotheses for solving them

Relating to user experience...

1. Discoverability

The Fellowship digital experience is fragmented - activity takes place in many places. It is not easy to find opportunities or people to connect with.


Helping people find opportunities, understand what activity is happening and how to get involved, and signpost people clearly if activity is happening elsewhere. Easy routes for people to find others through a mix of automated matchmaking and manual searching.

Will mean (outcome)...

  • Increased opportunity to engage
  • Easier engagement

2. Communication

It is not easy to communicate with or learn from other Fellows (on an individual or group level, or as a community).


Providing people with easy ways of communicating and sharing ideas and having conversations with individuals, groups and as a community.

Will mean (outcome)...

  • Easier communication
  • Easier engagement
  • More effective engagement


3. Levels of engagement

Fellows are busy, they may have expertise / advice to provide but no time to engage deeply.


Providing inclusive opportunities to participate with different options for level of engagement - a mix of bitesize / low barrier to entry and deeper involvement.

Will mean (outcome)...

  • Increased opportunity to engage
  • Easier engagement
  • Sense of community

4. Sense of community

The offer promises to be part of a community, but the digital experience doesn’t meet expectations. Most activity is RSA-led broadcasting.

Hypothesis -

Creating a Fellow space (You are the RSA) that builds a sense of community and enables people to lead and self-sustain activity.


  • Improved satisfaction
  • Increased opportunity to engage
  • Engagement to empowerment

Operational issues...

5. Joined up experience

Currently we have lots of tools / systems to manage and maintain. They are not joined up (user experience and data) so difficult to measure impact as an organisation

Hypothesis -

Intentionally designing joined up experiences that help people to understand and interact with them as part of an end to end journey, and allowing us to track and measure success of those journeys


  • We can measure impact easier, so we are able to improve solutions / services over time
  • Improved satisfaction
  • Easier engagement

6. Sustainability of solution(s)

Staff don’t have the time to manage and promote opportunities (at scale), meaning that they are under utilised.

Hypothesis -

A scalable and sustainable operational strategy which allows RSA to wrap the right level of support and promotion around different solutions i.e. more for solutions that enable our priorities / focus, and lighter-touch where we're empowering fellows / our community.


  • Improved satisfaction
  • Improved uptake, and impact
  • Sustainability of solutions / services

Outcomes that solution(s) must achieve

  • Ease of engagement - Clear, easy-to-use digital mechanisms for engagement. Options for levels of engagement (shallow and deep).
  • Effective engagement - Enables Fellows to connect and build their ideas within and across the global community.
  • Ease of communication - Ease of communication with other Fellows / the RSA
  • Increased opportunity to engage - Providing inclusive opportunities to easily connect with other Fellows, and contribute to both Fellow-led and RSA-led work.
  • Engagement to empowerment - You are the RSA. A Fellow space that enable people to lead, and self-sustain activity.

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Our approach

One joined up team that thinks big, acts small. We focus on user needs, we work in the open. With an agile delivery.

We will continuously test, learn and iterate designs based on feedback.

We are hypothesis-led (building on existing knowledge), we focus on learning (prototype early and often, testing the end-to-end service), we gather evidence (measuring success through) and we work in agile sprints (flexible to change).

Working in the open

This is a user-centred project and we will engage Fellows throughout this process through -

  • Show & Ask - Informal opportunity for people to provide feedback and ask questions about the project. Will be regular call-outs to Fellows about these - we’re happy to start small and grow. Anyone can attend. The first one will be second week of Sprint 3 (29 July). Communication about our work will be supplemented by sprint notes.
  • Fellow Design workshops – aligned to our design phases. These will involve targeted groups of Fellows for workshopping our hypotheses, co-design and testing of the prototypes.

Contact us

Got a question, suggestion or feedback about this work? Get in touch with the team

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  • In an era of great distractions, what energy and sense of ownership/community is worth the time to learn a new system and platform? Why are we starting with the tech and not the engagement/energy/ritual side of the human systems design? What joyful and satisfying human connections are we building? What are the defaults to make this easy and somewhere we want to return and bring others to? :)

    • Hi Gigi, thanks for sharing these observations, great to hear from you! We've set a course in this project to be technology agnostic in our approach to ensure we truly focus on user needs. But in the course of our research we're certainly taking account of the current experience - what works / what doesn't. The ultimate solution will need to make connecting with other Fellows easy, intuitive and hopefully joyful! As mentioned in the issues identified above, we're very aware that Fellows will have different levels and requirements for engagement and we need to reflect this.