Special Projects

In addition to training public innovators in our approach, we engage in a number of special projects.


Using methods we've honed in 30 years of on-the-ground work, the Institute is often asked to conduct research that sheds light on what it takes to make community life work more effectively and the challenges holding us back. We often couple this research with action guides and supplemental tools so that people can engage on the learning to advance their work.

Tough Issues

We help communities wrestle with complex challenges where answers don't come easily and where people's values are often in conflict - and the trade-offs are real. Recently, for example, Rich Harwood led a group of community leaders in Newtown, Connecticut, through a process to determine what to do with the Sandy Hook School following the 2012 mass shooting of 20 children and six adults. 

Public voice Projects

We often work with organizations and communities to craft engagement processes that help surface how people feel about important issues - their aspirations, the challenges they see and what progress together would look like. These findings can be turned into "public voice reports" that communities use to spur collective action. We often combine this work with follow up meetings in communities and even subsequent training on moving to action.