Richard C. Harwood, founder and president of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, provides ten meaningful and important ways to Live United:
- We must help people in our communities to see and hear those individuals who are different from themselves, or who live in other parts of the community. At the heart of living united is the ability to see beyond ourselves so that we can begin to understand and work on common challenges, or support others who face challenges different from our own.
- We must root our work in the public knowledge of our community – for instance, in how people see and define their concerns, the values they wrestle with, the aspirations they hold for themselves, their neighbors, and their community. This public knowledge then must be used to inform the ways in which we do our work internally and the how we shape our programs and initiatives.
- We must act as boundary spanners in our communities, working to bring people and organizations together across real and imagined dividing lines. Too many efforts these days are fragmented, isolated, or even redundant. We must find ways to work across boundaries and leverage one another’s efforts.
- We must focus on undertaking “galvanizing projects” – efforts that by their very nature bring people together and demonstrate that we can step forward and work collectively. In these efforts, impact is less important than galvanizing people’s sense of connection and momentum. We need early wins and they must visible to everyone.
- We must orient ourselves toward the “public good,” which in practice means seeing people as citizens not “consumers.” Too often our volunteer programs become more focused on the “volunteer experience” rather than creating positive impact for communities.