Virtual Public Innovator Labs

Learn the skills you need, wherever you are.


Our training platform is built for you. Through our online course, you and your colleagues will learn our time-tested approach to creating deeper and more meaningful impact in your community.

Who should attend

The Lab is 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. Their organizations can be any size from any size community.

  • We are looking for people who run programs or initiatives, are part of the senior staff, or lead organizations.

  • If you already use our approach but have new staff, this is a great, cost effective way for them to get trained.

What you'll learn 

  • How to engage and understand your community the right way

  • How to use what you learn from the community to gain new allies

  • How to improve your programs and strategies so they work for your community - not just for the experts

  • How to get work moving with the right partners in the community when it seems like everyone is stuck and there's talk but no action

  • How to be a more intentional community leader that exercises genuine authority, authenticity and accountability


What you'll get

  • An action plan that you can start on as soon as you get home

  • A toolkit with all the materials you can copy and use with your colleagues

  • A library of videos on topics we cover in the Lab

  • Regular updates from the Institute through our newsletter


The Format

  • The Virtual Lab is structured as an 8-week online course.

  • This program will take place every Thursday from 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time for 8 weeks.

  • The online sessions are highly interactive. You're expected to participate in discussions.

  • In between sessions, you will participate in online discussions and have about an hour minutes of "homework" to do so you can apply what you are learning as you are learning it.


Upcoming Virtual Labs

Fall 2019 Virtual Public Innovators Lab ›
Sept 23 - Nov 14, 2019
Register here >

What participants say:

“The initial readings made me feel as if I was arriving home. That has continued to be true. The work in between sessions strengthens the learning, and I like participating in the course over an 8 week period, so that I can continue to see these issues and opportunities play out in my day to day work. The discussion boards and small groups have been effective in generating a community among us.”
"I'm learning to listen and engage our members, as well as exercising humility and patience to listen and build consensus, rather than go with my own ‘good ideas.’”
“I plan to use what I have learned to focus on how my work impacts the communities that I serve. I plan to listen to those communities more to understand what their aspirations are.”
“Now, anytime I plan a meeting, I’ll think about how the actions or topics are perceived by the audience. Am I focused on me and my organization or on the needs of the audience?”
"Throughout my 24 year career, I have never learned outward turning skills. I thought our library was very successful in activities and popularity. This workshop is innovative and powerful."
"I'm learning many valuable tools and approaches that will make the work I do more meaningful to the people I serve. On a broader level, the classes each week leave me feeling generally optimistic and inspired that each person has the ability to engage and connect with others in a way that fosters a deep sense of support and change."

Virtual Lab Technical Requirements

Operating System 

  • Windows 7 – Windows 10
    Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) - macOS Mojave 10.14

Internet Connection

  • 1 Mbps or better (broadband recommended)
    MUST connect using Google Chrome


  • Zoom desktop app
    JavaScript enabled


  • 2GB or more of RAM

  • Microphone and speakers (USB or AUX headset recommended)

  • Webcam (optional)

  • Phone (optional)