Pitching Connecting Londoners and co-design of civil society communications to an #RSAideas session

Last night a group of us had a great opportunity to pitch Connecting Londoners to one of the regular RSA ideas events. There are some 8000 London Fellows, representing enormous expertise and connections in the city.

Quite a few Fellows are developing projects for social good – examples here. As I wrote earlier, RSA has done a lot of work in the past on connecting communities.
With Drew Mackie, Matt Scott, Pete Burden and other Fellows, I’ve been helping London community groups and organisations strengthen their networks, and capacity to develop innovative projects. Here’s the pitch we made last night, with a couple of posters we presented. Nikki Wilson added support.
I think the ideas went down well, and we’ll be following up with invitations to the event we are planning with Matt on November 16 at London Metropolitan University to co-design a networked approach to supporting London community groups and networks. More here later on that.
Thanks to Charlotte Bayley and Alex Blanes for excellent organising on behalf of RSA London.

Our pitch

We are suggesting tonight that we bring together two movements that could make a real difference to London civil society.
On the one hand we have a resurgence of interest in the way that Fellows can work together to share ideas and make a collective social impact for good.
Judy Rees has led a group of us in developing an online Fellows Forum. As you can see from the poster, Drew Mackie and I have mapped networks in the Forum, showing people’s connections and shared interests.

In addition, London Fellowship Councillors will soon invite Fellows to join in a network weaving initiative to build stronger connections between Fellows and projects.
On the other hand, London funders and others are developing plans for new support systems in the face of funding cuts, and the Greater London Authority is consulting on its civil society strategy.
However, London community groups and networks are not happy with the plans. They are urging a more bottom-up, networked approach – not just a central resource hub. Drew and I have explored what’s needed from the level of family, to neighbourhood and city. That’s the other poster.

So, in the RSA, Fellows are exploring how to support each other, as well as getting support from the centre. In London, community groups are similarly exploring mutual support to complement the central resource hub.
Why not join forces?
On November 16 we’ll be running a co-design workshop with Matt Scott at London Metropolitan University that will bring a lot of different interests together to envisage what a properly Networked City could be like, supported by digital technology. Not just a smart city, but one that is sharing and participatory. There’s strong parallels with our ideas for a more networked RSA.
In addition, we’ll be running an online forum, blog and wiki before and after the event, and planning more workshops. If you would like to join in, drop me an email. There will be more on our Connecting Londoners blog.

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