The aim of our RSA digital engagement group (#RSAde) meeting last week was to come out with some kind of engagement strategy: even if it was just a list of action points. I’m pleased to say we just about managed to achieve this. And that in itself was no mean feat! Trouble is, you get a cluster of clever people, especially teccie types, in a room together, and the probability of going off on all sorts of different (and not necessarily related) tangents is high. Also, we only had two hours.

We agreed a while ago that the meeting should be in Manchester. Some of the #RSAde’s most active members are in the North of England, and a couple in Scotland, so it seemed only fair to move in that direction (last year’s meeting was in London and when we meet in person again, it’ll probably be the West country). Luckily, Vivs Long-Ferguson arranged a fabulous venue for us – the Portico Library and Gallery, which was built over 150 years ago and recently restored, partly with RSA money. It was the perfect place to put any digital navel-gazing into context!

People, objectives, strategy and tech

In an attempt to prevent too much techno-babble, we used Forrester’s POST model to structure the meeting. The great thing about POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) is that it forces you to think about the people involved before you look at anything else. I think POST is a great method but, in retrospect, not really workable in two hours. You probably need a day long workshop to really do it justice.

Having said that, the discussion was animated, productive (we got our action points) and no one person or point of view dominated. Everyone had their say, and some great connections were made. The best thing about #RSAde – like all the working groups set up by the new RSA Fellowship Council – is that it brings RSA staff and Fellows together in a focused community of interest. One year on from #RSAde’s inception, it was great to see a mix of high level staff and expert fellows around the table. Long may this community continue!

Thanks to all

The RSA Fellows who came to discuss the engagement strategy were: Lilian Barton, Charlotte Britton, David Dickinson, Charles Millar, Roxanne Persaud, Kate Pickering, Don Pinchbeck, Bob Porrer, Edward Truch and myself. And from the RSA staff: Michael Ambjorn, Josef Lentsch and Vivs Long Ferguson.

Big thanks all for your time and wisdom – look forward to a productive year!

More about RSAde: A tribute to my Ada Lovelace Day heroes

Photo: Stabmewithlove