In-Person Training:
Public Innovators Lab

Applied learning. Real-life scenarios. Action, not theory. 
Learn how to make the community - not your conference room - the reference point for your choices and action.

The Harwood Public Innovators Lab is a 2.5-day training to help you learn how to Turn Outward and make more intentional choices in your work. 

We host three kinds of Labs:

  1. Community or Network Labs - for groups of organizations geographically co-located or formally associated organizations like a state association of nonprofits
  2. National Labs - these are open to everyone and currently happen once or twice a year. Look on the homepage to see when the next one is scheduled.
  3. Virtual Labs - an 8-week virtual course. Lab sessions will take place once a week as 90-minute classes, with homework in between. Open to individuals and groups. More information and registration can be found here.


Labs are for people who are leading or supporting work to help address community problems. We call these individuals public innovators. They can come from nonprofits, faith organizations, businesses, government, academia and other areas. 

Labs are especially suited for these kinds of people:

  • People who play a key role in driving the execution of programs or initiatives that address community challenges
  • Senior staffs that lead programmatic areas or are responsible for coordinating community initiatives
  • CEOs of organizations that are of such a size that the CEO is often engaged directly in ensuring that community work gets done (usually smaller or mid-sized nonprofits)
  • People responsible for community outreach, volunteer engagement, donor engagement or other areas around strengthening support of the community


  • Three months of weekly tools, real world case studies, and tips on using what you’ve learned plus our monthly newsletter and Rich Harwood’s blog
  • A Public Innovator Toolkit print ready for you to use with your staff and partners
  • A library of videos  that you can use to spread what it means to Turn Outward


The Lab is organized into five areas that we go through step-by-step:

Understanding My Community    

  1. Focus on public knowledge
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Understand what I am learning – and how to listen
  4. Apply new knowledge to making sound decisions
  5. Share what I am learning to build community ownership & allies

Being Turned Outward

  1. Make the personal choice to turn outward
  2. Apply being Turned Outward to my daily choices
  3. Embed Turning Outward across key functions
  4. Engage others to Turn Outward

Creating Conditions for Change and Sustainability    

  1. Know the stage of my community and its implications for effective action
  2. Identify the right conditions to accelerate and support change

Deciding on the Right Path  

  1.  Identify my sphere of influence
  2. Choose the best path to win
  3. Create an action plan

Making an Agreement with Myself    

  1. Create a personal covenant
  2. Identify what rejuvenates you


Be prepared to work! The Lab is intensive, will require you to think through real scenarios and apply your own challenges to the frameworks and tools being presented. It's not for passive learners. There will be group work, projects, small discussions, reflection time, and loads of application. 

Click here for a basic Lab agenda.