Public innovators are the leaders that move our communities forward. They come from nonprofits, businesses, government, the media, and educational and religious organizations.

Public Innovators Have Three Characteristics:

  1. They have a deep affection for their communities and for tackling complex public challenges.
  2. They are highly pragmatic, results-oriented and focused on getting things done. They have vision but are ruthlessly strategic in their execution.
  3. They are willing to take risks and make big bets in their work. Most importantly, they understand which risks are worth taking and can manage that risk.

How We Develop Public Innovators

The Harwood Institute teaches and coaches public innovators to solve pressing problems and change how people and organizations in communities work together. Public innovators that participate in the Institute’s programs and initiatives learn to:

  • Identify community issues rooted in people’s shared aspirations and build public will for action
  • Develop strategies that align with local context
  • Create community conditions that enable change
  • Forge relationships with the right partners to run with
  • Build networks for innovation and learning
  • Adopt the right metrics to gauge progress
  • Cultivate can-do narratives in their organizations and the community

Want To Know More?

Our organizations, our communities, and our country need public innovators now more than ever to help make a real difference on the challenges we face and to change the way we work together. We invite you to join us and become part of this growing cadre of authentic change leaders. Here are some steps you can take with us:

Sign up and join the Public Innovator Corps. You will get access to Rich Harwood’s Redeeming Hope blog as well as The Harwood Institute’s newsletter, which features stories on community change efforts around the world, information on learning opportunities, and tips and tools that you can use to help yourself and your colleagues deepen your understanding of turning outward.

Visit our Turn Outward Resources section. Take the Turn Quiz with your staff or community team and engage in a discussion about how to deepen the way in which your efforts are tied to the community. Use the Harwood in a Half Hour Tools to drive more intentional and community-oriented choices and decisions.

Participate in a Harwood Public Innovators Lab. The Lab is a 3-day experience where we introduce you to how you can use the Institute’s core frameworks to start changing the way you and your organization or community team are doing your work. The Lab helps you better understand the extent to which you are turned outward toward the community in your work and how you can accelerate your efforts. Bring a team to a national Lab or consider bringing a Lab to your organization or your community.

Partner with us. The Institute works with community teams and organizations across the country to strengthen public innovators and their organizations. We also help community teams develop and execute collective action that is rooted in community. We are ready to work with you to accelerate your efforts.


contact us today!