Guest Post: Conditions for community change start with perspective

Guest Post: Conditions for community change start with perspective

Posted on December 28, 2012 by Grace Carlson

As you made have read previously, Sarasota community leaders converged recently in Alexandria, VA for a 3-day workshop at the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to learn ... well, innovative techniques in public engagement.

What they encountered was less about instruction and more about mindset. Rich Harwood welcomed the group (a class of more than 60 community leaders from across the U.S., Canada and the U.K.) with the bold assertion that communities no longer have to remain at impasse, division and discord. According to Harwood, there are clear methods readily available to create new pathways for change. Our three-day goal? "To find ways to tap people's potential to make a difference and forge a common future." In short, to become a force for lasting change.

Sounds easy, right?

It all begins with Turning Outward. By Turning Outward with a real intention to create change, public innovators will produce greater impact and meaningful relevance in their communities. No wonder Sarasota Community Foundation's John Annis named "intention" as his chief takeaway premise from the workshop. "My first steps toward adopting the principals we learned are to think often about the three things that really rejuvenate me."

As Harwood explained, "The choice you make about the direction you face is fundamentally about your very posture, your stance, your orientation toward the community; it will determine if your actions can make a difference and if you can fulfill your own aspirations for the life you seek."

Grace Carlson is a board member of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence). She may be reached -

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