I just spent 3 1/4 days of learning! Yes, this is exciting! (notice the exclamations!) I love to learn from experiences, from others, from myself and dare I say say it….from failure. I believe this is when we learn the most – when we fail. That’s one of my key take-aways from the Lab – to not be afraid of failure; putting yourself out there, being innovative, being authentic in your work and whether you succeed or fail, you were bold enough to try something new. From there you pick-up the pieces, you learn and try it again.
Rich Harwood also talked about focusing our efforts outward to the community – for the common good. He asked those of us that work in nonprofits, “do you really know your community?” I responded with a no. We think we know our communities because we work in nonprofits and see the needs on a daily basis and we have the data to prove it (at least to ourselves) but we really don’t know what the “community” wants, what their aspirations are, their dreams for their kids, families and neighborhoods. Rich said that we need to stop thinking of clients as clients, donors as donors and we need to see them as citizens of the community. In many cases, we don’t see them as citizens, we see them as recipients of services or funders of our events and programs. If we want to authentically engage our communities, we need to change the way we see and peg people.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. See what one of our Public Innovators, Alicia Rascon has to say…
And the learning will contintue. Participants of the Public Innovators Lab have committed to do this work for the next three years! That’s a pretty amazing commitment. We’ll start with the Community Studio (pilot training series we’re working on with Tommy Darwin, Director of Community Partnerships at UT) and continue with projects starting to address our communities most pressing issues. In a way, we will be living the Hands On mantra and living the words of Mahatma Ghandi, “we must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Innaugural Class of the Public Innovator Lab
Whether you went through the Public Innovators Lab or not, you are engaged in learning everyday. What have you learned today?
Director, Hands On Central Texas