Through the expertise of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation
, a nonprofit advancing positive community action by inspiring people and communities to “turn outward,” Southwest Florida is making community — not the conference room — the reference point for change. Individuals and organizations have the power to realize shared aspirations by connecting and engaging within communities. The Aspirations to Actions initiative is an opportunity to learn and apply The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation’s time-tested and proven techniques
to evolve community dialogue into positive actions in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties.
Working with Rich Harwood and The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation’s coaches since 2014, The Patterson Foundation supported strengthening efforts in our region by training nearly 200 people representing diverse geographic areas and issues in Southwest Florida during public innovator labs. By encouraging learning, sharing, and evolving together, these public innovators developed a deeper sense of how this practice strengthens individuals, organizations, and communities. With group-learning sessions and consultants provided by The Patterson Foundation, individuals and teams are continuing to make a difference.
Why does The Patterson Foundation support this initiative?
The Patterson Foundation is strengthening the efforts of people, organizations, and communities through the Aspirations to Actions initiative. By providing time and space for people to learn and share together using The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation''s techniques, the foundation is supporting the evolution of community dialogue into positive actions that will achieve aspirations in our region.
What is the objective of this initiative?
The objective of the Aspirations to Actions initiative is for our community to take aspirations and turn them into actions that will result in positive change. This initiative has the potential to change the way our community approaches issues and the way it develops innovative, collaborative partnerships that may not have otherwise formed.
What is the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and why was it chosen for this initiative?
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that teaches and coaches people and organizations to solve pressing issues and change how communities work together. The people they teach become known as public innovators. The Harwood Institute's unique approach breaks down barriers and empowers people to make progress in improving their communities.
What is the value of this initiative to our community?
Aspirations to Actions has the potential to change the way our community approaches challenges and issues. As the Harwood principles have been employed across the region, we are discovering a new and innovative approach to community conversations that informs decisions we make before we make them. In addition, organizations will exhibit enhanced leadership and new competencies. Organizations will be focused, aligned, and making tangible progress on issues. There will be an environment of innovation and learning and the forming of new partnerships.
What is the timeframe for completing this initiative?
Who can put a "timeframe" on change? The individuals and teams involved in Aspirations to Actions will continue the work of learning the aspirations of their community while connecting and working with others to make change happen. When fully implemented, this initiative will be timeless. It has the potential to change lives and the way our community approaches issues to create positive change together.
What are the next steps for this initiative?
Eleven Community Engagement Teams emerged from the first Public Innovators Lab in 2014, representing diverse geography and topics from the region. With the addition of 120 new public innovators late in 2016, Aspirations to Actions will continue to expand the reach and effectiveness of the Harwood practice.
The 2016 Lab was a first-ever for The Harwood Institute in that entire teams from Manatee and Sarasota County Public Libraries experienced the three-day learning lab together. The Harwood Institute is benefiting from the Aspirations to Actions innovations including local guides-on-the-side who support embedding the work and the addition of two pre-labs to prepare participants for the actual lab.
Participants from both labs will use the tools and methodologies and apply them to particular issues or challenges. Tools like turning outward allow for connecting individuals with their communities, while the use of community conversations encourages learning and sharing. Innovation spaces foster an evolving discussion that in due course leads to action and strengthening the community.
Teams from Lab 1 have continued their work in the community through specially designed group learning — Innovation Space Sessions — and team-specific guidance. Teams from Lab 2 will also benefit from this ongoing support.
How can I get involved in Aspirations to Actions?
As our teams continue to engage the community, watch for opportunities to participate as a team member and/or in community conversations. These conversations will give you the opportunity to express your aspirations for our community while learning, sharing, and connecting with others. For deeper understanding of the Harwood practice, you can register for a national Harwood Public Innovators Lab that takes place in different cities once or twice a year, or you can register for The Harwood Institute's Virtual Lab
Who can I contact about the Aspirations to Actions initiative?
For more information, contact initiative consultant Beth Doyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.