May 13, 2014
Last week, nearly 200 people from across the local business, government and nonprofit ranks gathered at the Pinery at the Hill to hear a pep talk from Rich Harwood, arguably the nation’s leading crusader for community action.
Pikes Peak United Way, trying in various ways to engage residents throughout Colorado Springs, brought Harwood here in hopes of succeeding where other efforts have fallen short. We’ve seen various attempts to galvanize the public and instigate lasting change, often with plenty of early fanfare and grandiose plans. But then nothing happens.
Harwood wants to be different. As he’s doing in many cities through his Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, he’s determined to help create a success story here. In a fervent, no-nonsense talk of about 30 minutes, followed by a two-hour workshop with about 150 staying to attend, Harwood talked about what has worked for other cities and situations. He saw Colorado Springs, like other places across the country, as having reached an “inflection point” with the theme of “enough is enough” and people figuring out “how to fix our public discourse.”