Public Innovators Labs

Applied learning, real-life scenarios, action beyond theory


The Harwood Public Innovators Lab is built to help you and your organization learn what it takes to Turn Outward – to use the community, not your conference room, as your reference point for choices and action.

The Lab is based on a set of proven ideas, frameworks and tools the Institute has developed and tested over the past 30 years. It is offered in-person as a 2.5-day in-person training and via online over the course of eight modules. While most Labs are 75-125 people, we can tailor Labs to the size of your group, whether you are an organization, local community or regional or national network. 

In the Lab, you’ll spend most of your time in small learning groups applying the Harwood practice to your real-life challenges. The Lab consists of self-assessments, frameworks, case studies, an actual community conversation, and the Public Innovators Collaboration session. All participants leave with an action plan.

What You Learn

We focus on 5 areas in which public innovators need to make choices and provide a step-by-step approach to them.



5 Key Areas


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

Understanding my community


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

Being Turned Outward



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

Creating conditions for change and sustainability



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

Deciding on the right path



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

Making an agreement with myself

What You Leave With

  • Your own personal Public Innovators Lab Guide

  • The Public Innovators Toolkit—including the Community Conversation Workbook—that you can use with your colleagues and partners

  • Post-Lab Engagement – 12 weeks of weekly emails that include tools, tips, and case studies, plus our regular monthly newsletter and Rich Harwood’s Redeeming Hope blog

  • Video Library – A series of videos featuring Rich Harwood that can be used to engage others and spread what it means to Turn Outward

Who Should Attend

The Lab is for people who seek to make their efforts more relevant and impactful to the community. We call these individuals public innovators. They come from nonprofits, faith organizations, businesses, government and academia, among other areas. Their organizations can be any size from any size community.

Come Ready!

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 to view last year’s agenda for the Public Innovators Lab for Libraries.

Upcoming Labs