The Sweet Spot of Public Life

The Sweet Spot of Public Life

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Beth Doyle

As we ready ourselves for The Harwood Public Innovators Lab this week and welcome Rich Harwood, founder of The Harwood Institute of Public Innovation, and his amazing team of Harwood Coaches Bill Booth, Carlton Sears, Cheryl Gorman and David Moore to our area, we would like to share one more video.

This is not only an appropriate “ending” to our vlog series prior to entering the Lab, but it is also a beautiful “beginning” to consider for our work ahead. Rich Harwood shares with us that the sweet spot of public life is when we work on a public concern while simultaneously addressing the underlying conditions of the community. Big stuff!

Working in the sweet spot of public life requires a focus on “public capital,” the conditions for change that enable communities to move forward. These are the factors that shape the ability and capacity of a community to work together and create change.

An Abundance of Social Gatherings

Organized Spaces for Interaction

Boundary-Spanning Organizations

Safe Havens for Decision Makers

Strong, Diverse Leadership

Informal Networks and Links

Conscious Community Discussion

Community Norms for Public Life

A Shared Purpose for the Community

He emphasizes that as we build trust, people are able to engage and work together on shared aspirations, and we can accelerate progress in the community and become more effective public innovators. So, let’s do it!


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


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