In October, The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation held two one-day Intentionality workshops in New Haven on the campus of Yale University for the United Way of Greater New Haven (UWGNH). In June, staff and several board members of UWGNH attended The Harwood Public Innovators Lab as part of the of the United Way’s work around education. Inspired by what they learned, their staff felt it was important to share Harwood’s approach with the rest of the staff, the Board and community partners. Jack Healey, CEO of United Way of Greater New Haven described the Lab as “a profound experience. We were moved.” The one day Intentionality sessions focused on the essential components of the Harwood approach: turning outward, aspirations, and The 3A’s of Public Life, as well as a set of concrete intentionality tests that people can use to make choices and judgments going forward. The first session focused on the staff and board of UWGNH. One of the topics discussed was, what it means to be focused on your work with a clear understanding of the community’s reality.
The second session brought together 100 key community partners in order to help develop a new way of working together in New Haven. The group included the Superintendent of the New Haven School District, representatives from non-profits, the Mayor’s office and Yale University. Jennifer Heath, Vice President for Community Leadership, UWGNH described the event as “a chance to expose others in New Haven to this approach… so we can try to work together in a better way.” By bringing these community leaders together, UWGNH hopes to create a critical mass of people who are thinking about change in a different way and to generate a thrust for their work.