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Openrsa - Initial OpenRSA

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This was the initial About statement for OpenRSA 2007-2009
The idea of OpenRSA developed from some blog posts, a get-together of about a dozen people in July 2007, and discussion in aFacebook group. (no t available) The trigger was plans under development by Matthew Taylor, newly-appointed chief executive of the RSA, to re-invent the organisation.
Ian Delaney summarised the challenge in his blog post: (no longer available)

The RSA is the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. Established 250years ago, it currently has about 26,500 Fellows. They can attend a veryfull and well-attended events schedule; they get the letters FRSA aftertheir name; there’s no shortage of applications for its paid membership.Business is booming. And yet there’s a little bit of a problem.
The Society’s problem is that times have changed. Fellows are apparently expressing some degree ofdisgruntlement that they don’t feel involved with the programme or theSociety. While in the past, a programme of well-planned lectures fromeminent persons, nice premises on the Strand and a learned journalseveral times a year seemed satisfactory, that’s no longer enough.Today’s younger members want projects they can join, causes they canwork with and more of a say, arguably, in what’s happening at theSociety. There’s a feeling of empty hands that want to befilled.
How can the RSA make Fellows feel more involved, develop and encourage projects that engage membersat the grass roots level, rather than merely being part of the audiencelistening to someone from the stage in the Grand Hall of its LondonHQ?

The group meeting in July was in favour of Matthew’s vision, and felt the process of reinvention would benefit from direct input from Fellows (the members of the RSA) and others who might be interested. We were particularly interested in how to use social media as part of the process, linked with face-to-face meetings.
Discussion continued in the OpenRSA Facebook group, where a small group of those involved decided to organise an open event on October 1 2007, in advance of an event being planned by Matthew and RSA staff in November. The aim was to help set the style and agenda from the Fellow’s perspective, and so make a positive contribution to the process of re-invention. On September 6 2007 Matthew Taylor emailed all 26,500 Fellows confirming his vision, and saying he would like about 1 percent of them to attend an event at RSA in November.
You can read the email here.
Matthew wrote:

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

The email arrived just as the OpenRSA group were planning to open their discussions up beyond Facebook, by creating an email/web discussion forum using a Google groups.
You can join up to it here.

So what is the OpenRSA?

The precise form of OpenRSA will emerge from further discussions. Here’s how Malcolm Forbes put it in the introduction to the Facebook group:
Welcome to the Open RSA London group. This is a group for all those interested in the RSA, its people,its projects, its aims, its challenges, its vision. This is an opengroup, anyone can join, not just ‘fellows’ or staff of the RSA, but wewould like as many of them as possible to join in.
For starters we would encourage you to post to the For Openers Discussion thread below.This group is exploratory - seeing what value can emerge from the use of social networking softwaresuch as Facebook.
We have started as a London group but again you can still be a member if you are not in London. Wewant to encourage discussion, ideas, action, meetings and linkages toother networks and groups. Maybe other Open RSA groups set up in otherareas.
The RSA by the way is the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce and‘works to remove the barriers to social progress’. Lets see what happensand also have some fun!
The initial group is very conscious that so far discussion has been mainly among people in London,and will be making an effort to contact other RSA Fellows around thecountry.

We expect new directions for OpenRSA to emerge from discussions at the workshop on February 19 2009.
More here.

OpenRSA online

One of the main interests of those starting OpenRSA is the use of social media, and in particular online tools available to anyone free or at low cost. For that reason we are using Facebook, Google and Wikispaces. We’ll add others as necessary.


OpenRSA has now set up an online network http://openrsa.ning.comthat will replace most of the other online tools set up in 2007.
Although created by RSA Fellows, it is open to friends and staff.
You’ll find online resources here

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openrsa/initial_openrsa.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 15:20 (external edit)