Turning Outward makes the community and the people the reference point for getting things done.

Each of us comes to this work with an urge to do good and the desire to change and make hope real for people. But as we try to get things done in our community, we can face incredible pressure to turn inward – to focus more on our own organization and its internal workings, our branding, the very survival of our organization, and endless to-do lists, all at the expense of Turning Outward to our community. But the more inward we become, the harder it is to create the change we seek.

The key to having greater impact in your community and staying true to yourself is to Turn Outward. Turning Outward is about changing our orientation, our posture, the very direction we face, in the work we do. When we Turn Outward we make the choice to face toward the community, to squarely address reality, and to see and hear all people. These are all things missing in our communities today.

Turning Outward impacts:

  1. Engagement – Shifting who you see and include in your work and how you engage with them to create change.
  2. Partners – Helping you gain clarity about the partners you need to move forward – and those that are holding you back.
  3. Priorities – By understanding what space you occupy within the community, you no longer struggle to be all things to all people. Instead, you focus on what you can and should impact.
  4. Strategies — How you develop and implement strategies that reflect the context of your community and people’s shared aspirations – and not to get so entangled in programs and activities.
  5. Communications – Reframing how you talk about your work and impact, so that it is relevant to people and their concerns – and how you can contribute to a more productive community narrative.
  6. Organizational Culture – By Turning Outward you can align and drive internal efforts around shared aspirations and shared language, which makes it easier to work across departments and get things done.

Turning Outward means choosing with Intentionality

Intentionality is at the heart of Turning Outward. Each day, we make hundreds of choices, and while we can’t control everything, if we become more intentional about the choices we do make – we can have far greater impact and take more control of our work and lives.

For us, Intentionality is about being wakeful, aware of what we see, hear and choose to do. It’s also about recognizing the moral responsibility of the choices we make – that what we say and do matters; our actions have consequences.

From more than 20 years of experience with tens of thousands of Public Innovators, we know that your ability to make more intentional choices and judgments is the key factor in shaping the impact you have.

To Make Hope Real, we must Turn Outward and become more intentional in the choices and judgments we make

Below are some of the Harwood tools and supports that can guide you on your journey to Turn Outward.

The Harwood Intentionality Forum


The Harwood Intentionality Forum

The Intentionality Forum is a highly interactive one-day community event that provides the foundation for the Harwood approach.

Make Hope Real


Make Hope Real

Learn about the five factors that each of us must consider as we work to create change and make hope real in our communities.




A variety of materials that will help you Turn Outward and become more effective in your actions.