The power of collective thinking at the Public Innovators Summit

The power of collective thinking at the Public Innovators Summit

Posted on September 24, 2013 by Roxanne Joffe, MagnifyGood

The Harwood Institute's Public Innovators Summit is always a welcome opportunity for reflection and good thinking for change makers of all stripes. The summit, positioned as a gathering of the world's top public innovators, brings together people across all sectors -- from nonprofits and foundations to corporations and media -- all to have conversations about the most pressing issues in public life.

This year's summit was no different as I headed to the Utah mountains with Sarasota colleagues Kathy Baylis, Sarabeth Kalajian, who is director of the Sarasota County Library System, and Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design -- one of the world's premier art and design schools.

With such diversity of attendees, we, of course, shared a common goal: How could we, in our various capacities, make a meaningful difference in our communities?

The summit began with an informal reception, designed to help attendees connect and anticipate interactions that were to come throughout the summit. The warm welcome from Rich Harwood and his team made us all feel at ease and prepped us for the journey ahead.

We were asked to wrestle with some very poignant questions:

What does humility mean to me”?

“I am most present when……”

We had to turn inward in order to turn outward and so leverage the collective wisdom of the group along with our own personal reflections. I realized that people have complementary skills and one person cannot do the work as well alone. Each person, in his or her small way, added to the “ah-ha!” moments in the group.

The Patterson Foundation’s work is built on supporting platforms of collaboration with the knowledge that working together means working better. We so value the Harwood principles of community engagement, and I found that I was learning about myself as I learned about others. I am reminded of an old African proverb the really sums up our collective work:

"If you want to go fast, go it alone. If you want to go far go it together."


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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