Editor's Note: Philip Brown is one of our region's public innovators and is the president of the United Way of Manatee County.
Each one of us learns and absorbs The Harwood Institute's approach differently and through the lens of our own unique experiences in this life. It is truly different for each person. And, each learning down this road is individualized because it is informed by the new experiences that each of us has had since the last learning. In other words, there is continuous learning through the Harwood practice. It does not end. It is a way of being applied to who you are that makes it so unique.
I have experienced formal Harwood training three times in the last seven years: twice through in-person Public Innovators labs, and most recently, as a participant in The Harwood Institute's new online lab pilot. Through it all, I have continued to learn and discover new things about both myself and about people’s behavior and language.
The Patterson Foundation, through its Aspirations to Actions initiative, is invested in bringing the Harwood practice to our community to accelerate change. Over the past 18 months, since the original Lab, quarterly learning -- or Innovation Space -- sessions have allowed individuals and teams in our region to come together to learn, discuss and put Harwood into practice. For me, this has been energizing and has added depth and provided new context to what I learned and believed previously.
Ultimately, I believe that nearly everyone who has gone through this process is starting to realize that it is a personal decision of how to embed the Harwood practice, first in themselves, and then within their teams, organizations, and community.
I have had my own personal/individual experiences, successes, and challenges with the Harwood practice. Frankly, it is my belief that our community, our country, and our world will be better off when more people adopt “turning outward” and the Harwood practice as their “way of being.” It is a way of living, working, growing, and relating, and, most importantly, bringing about change.
As I listen and learn during our Innovation Space sessions, I am a reminded that “Community Conversations” can be more useful at informing our work than simply being a selling vehicle for that which we have already decided to do.
I look forward to the opportunity at future sessions for participants to share their personal point of view about how the Harwood practice has impacted/changed them personally, and then how and whether these personal changes are having “ripple effects” in the other parts of their lives.
I am deeply appreciative of and grateful for The Patterson Foundation’s commitment to spreading the word, and making opportunities for significant learning -- and, therefore, change -- to occur, particularly amongst our communities’ leaders. I am honored to be a part of this movement.
Philip Brown may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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