Matthew Taylor's vision

Email from Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, to Fellows September 6 2007

Dear Fellow

I hope many of you will have heard my thoughts on the core purpose of the RSA and its Fellowship from the Journal, my blog, various speeches and through other channels. However, I felt it was important to write now to all RSA Fellows to outline the significance of the changes we are embarking upon, and to provide you with a little more background.

In essence, our aim is that the RSA becomes a network for civic innovation, empowering both Fellows and staff to develop new initiatives that promote and deliver progress in society. We want to make it easier for any Fellow who wants to get involved to connect with other like-minded Fellows and to develop initiatives that seek to remove barriers to progress, working locally, in professional groups or simply among people who share interests and enthusiasms.

This is a huge step, arguably one of the biggest in our illustrious history. Whilst individual Fellows have actively engaged with the work of the RSA, the experience of most Fellows has tended to be more passive. You’ve told us you want that to change, so the plan is to bring the Fellows from the periphery to the heart of the RSA’s activities. The role of the team at John Adam Street will be to enable and empower Fellows to be a force for progress. If we get this right, we will be breaking new ground and hope to draw invaluable lessons about how voluntary networks can best deliver positive interventions in society.

Throughout this process so far, we have had invaluable advice and support from Fellows, and we are confident that we can establish the right mix of tools and support to enable Fellows’ networks to develop and flourish. If we are to succeed it means having new ideas, testing those ideas out, turning them into plans for action and then making change real. It is this combination of hard edged critical thinking and innovation with commitment and perseverance that will be the hardest challenge.

Towards the end of November, we plan to fill the RSA House in London for a day with a cross-section of Fellows – about 1% of the total – to begin working through the implications and applications of this idea.

Not all Fellows can fit into the House on the one day, but I want as many Fellows as possible to be part of this change. If you have comments or ideas, simply reply to this e-mail. There will be many opportunities to get involved over the coming months and we will keep you all updated on our progress through the Fellowship section of the website and the Journal.

 Matthew Taylor
Chief Executive
RSA, 8 John Adam Street
London WC2N 6EZ