Meet our Social Leaders


Full list of Fellows
Owen Jarvis

Owen Jarvis

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2012

NESTA Fellowship

What have you been doing recently?

I’ve recently finished my secondment with the RSA’s Design Team, to design and prepare a proposal for a national network of RSA supported hubs providing equipment and support for “makers’ spaces” or “fab-labs”. These are thought to be the vanguard of the 3rd Industrial Revolution – bringing manufacturing back to the UK and engaging disadvantaged communities.  I’ve also qualified as an Action Learning Facilitator, and completed an improvisation course and a self-directed storytelling course with members of the 2013 cohort (who are a great bunch).

What has been your greatest challenge?

A lot of working solo has been quite challenging and it has been good to have a group around me at the RSA to work with, and a project to take a lead on.

How has your leadership style impacted on those around you?

I led and organised a story-telling course for a group of Clore Social Fellows – via online resources – and it was extremely successful. The group was discovering storytelling for the first time and the programme proved excellent both in terms of being able to connect as a group and learn new skills.

In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?

Greater self-awareness has probably been the biggest area of development. The various trainings on improvisation, story-telling, action learning skills, being present and coaching sessions have started to give me a better sense of how I come across, and how that matches with how I intend to come across and my communications. People have noticed confidence, calm, good listening skills, attentiveness. At the other extreme – a lot of the programmes I’ve been on at Oxford, HSBC, work on innovation and lectures and readings have been about looking at the bigger picture and I feel I have much stronger insights to the context we’re working in (one of my goals at the beginning of the year).

Tell us an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship programme

Most social innovation isn’t about new ideas but using existing ideas in new ways. As someone who felt his identity was in being an “ideas person” that was a bit of a wake up call! Rather than having or searching for “the idea” in terms of leadership I’m moving more towards skills in bringing people together and stimulating discussions that lead to more ideas, and action.

What can you tell us about the Clore Social Leadership experience?

It gets to the parts that other leadership programmes cannot reach.  It’s a privilege to be on the programme as it’s been a huge gift to my personal and professional development.


Twitter: @owenjarvis
Personal website/ blog: changebrokers.wordpress.com

Current principal role: Service Design and Development Manager
Current principal organisation: Citizens Advice
Other leadership role 1: Entrepreneur
Other organisation 1: Money Saving Movement

Research: When Bees meet Trees: How large social sector organisations can help to scale social innovation
Research topics: Change management; Charity; Social investment;
Secondment host: RSA

Contact us
0207 812 3770
5th Floor, Kings Place, 90 York Way
London, N19AG

Charity: 1136727
Reg: 7222275
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