The Lab – Immerse yourself in the Harwood practice. Leave ready to take immediate action.

Next Lab Training is Oct 8-10 in Atlanta. Register! 

The Harwood Public Innovators Lab is 3–day immersion in the core elements of the Harwood practice and how to apply it in your daily work. The Lab helps people develop and deepen their existing work and uncover the best way to move your community forward.

The Lab provides both the foundation of the Harwood approach (Intentionality) coupled with a strong focus on concrete application. The Lab goes further than the Intentionality Forum adding in Community Rhythms, Public Knowledge, and Innovation Spaces and strong support from Certified Coaches. With these tools participants are able to engage their community, better understand the context of the community, recognize the strategic implications of their community context for action, and create spaces to support learning and recalibration.

The Lab is ideal for all Public Innovators. Take the quiz, are you a Public Innovator?

One of the best and most satisfying of the multitudes of seminar/ training sessions I’ve attended over the past 20 some odd years

What You’ll Learn

The Lab provides both the foundation of the Harwood approach (Intentionality) coupled with a strong focus on concrete application. During the three-day session you’ll learn:

The Importance of Turning Outward

For your choices to be intentional and your actions impactful, you have to make sure you’re oriented correctly. Are you turned inward toward your organization and its programs, or outward toward the community and people?

After the Lab you’ll understand what it means to Turn Outward and be able to use the Turn Quiz to help reorient others in their community or organization.


People will go to bat for their aspirations. Meaningful and durable change starts by understanding people’s shared aspirations and then making these the North Star for our efforts. You’ll learn how to surface people’s shared aspirations and get started creating change.

After the Lab you’ll have a tool – The Aspirations Triangle – that you can use to help surface people’s shared aspirations for their community.

The 3A’s of Public Life

Authority, Authenticity, and Accountability are the touchstones of the Harwood approach. Intentionally applying the 3A’s in day-to-day situations will help you create change and stay true to yourself.

  1. Authority is not just about power or our title– but about our knowledge of the community. How well do we know the community, how do we use what we’ve learned?
  2. Authenticity is more than just whether people like us, but whether we understand their lives and reflect their reality.
  3. Accountability is more than just reports and metrics – it is a measure we take of ourselves: “Am I living up to the pledges and promises I’ve made?”

After the Lab you’ll be grounded in these key touchstones. You’ll be able to assess how well you’re applying the 3A’s and identify concrete places where you could be more effective.

Community Rhythms

Have you ever wondered why a program that worked in one community fell flat in another? We did, and after years of research, we developed Community Rhythms, which describes the five stages of community life. When you understand what stage your community is in, you can choose actions that will best fit current conditions.

After the Lab you’ll be able to identify your community’s stage and the strategic implications for your work.

Public Knowledge

Most of us have ready access to expert knowledge – the data, statistics, and professional insights that inform most of our decisions today. But there are many kinds of knowledge that can only come from the voices and experiences of the people living in your community. This Public Knowledge is essential if you want your efforts to be relevant and significant to people. During the Lab you’ll learn how to engage with people to gain public knowledge and how to use what you learn.

After the Lab you’ll be able to use the “Ask” tool to gather public knowledge and engage with the community.

Innovation Spaces

We have innumerable meetings to discuss plans and to-dos, but few organizations have spaces devoted to learning and innovation. Innovation Spaces are meetings with ground rules and questions that promote learning and innovation and help align organizational efforts.

After the Lab you’ll be able to set up your own Innovation Space using the Innovation Space tool and begin to capture and identify the implications of what you’re learning

The Personal Covenant

We all start with an urge to do good, but along the way that can begin to fade or seem secondary. Reconnecting with our urge within, and making a deal with yourself about how you want to conduct yourself in public life will help sustain you in tough times.

After the Lab you’ll be able to return to your Personal Covenant to reconnect with your urge to do good, and stay grounded.

So often I hear the same approaches just repackaged. This was a paradigm shift.

What Past Participants are Saying

Request a Lab for your community.

Register for the next Public Innovators Lab

Oct 8-10 in Atlanta