|Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was developed by Dr. David Cooperrider and his colleagues as a new paradigm with the potential to replace the conventional problem-solving methods of organization development. |
In everyday life, most people and organizations are constrained by the perception that their resources, and hence their horizons, are limited. This perception -- that we must "face realities" -- is without a doubt the greatest single constraint on human imagination, vision and enterprise.
Appreciative inquiry begins with a different set of assumptions. We begin with the belief that we have a choice -- that we can consciously choose (in the Gestalt sense) what we "see" and act upon. In both the personal and social realms, we can choose to focus on problems, needs and deficits -- the traditional problem-solving approach. Or we can choose to see possibilities, capabilities and assets -- the basis of appreciative inquiry.
By focusing on what's right, rather than what's wrong with an organization, an individual or even a society, AI gives us access to the kind of energy that can be transformative. Having that kind of energy to work with gives us the confidence to develop and pursue a new image of the future.
A key question: If you want to inspire, mobilize and sustain human energy which is the most effective way -- by focusing on problems or pursuing possibilities?
AI is a generative process that gives us a way to bring possibilities to life and develop our capacities. Through a carefully developed set of questions and a process of dialogue, we uncover stories of our "peak experiences" -- those moments in our lives when we felt most effective, most connected, most alive.
These stories provide irrefutable proof of our actual capabilities. They give rise to new images of what the future could be. They raise our sights, energize us and give us the courage to dream and act boldly.
Rather than "accepting reality," we see that what we call "reality" is defined by what we choose to see, what we choose to think and talk about, what we choose to act upon. It follows that we have the capacity to create the kind of future we desire.
Description taken from: http://www.appreciative-inquiry.org/
|Problem solving versus appreciative Inquiry|
|Problem Solving |
|Appreciative Inquiry (AI) |
|How does it work?|
| First, understand the positive core of a living system. What makes it most effective and vital, in economic, ecological and human terms? |
- We move in the direction of our deepest and most frequently asked questions.
- Positive guiding images of the future trigger action in the present.
- Images are found in our dialogue with each other.
- Ratio of positive to negative statements is a success factor for change.
Individuals & groups can then weave the best of what is into formal and informal practices. This new approach to change, based on the power of the positive question, has emerged from revolutions in many fields.
Organizations work best when they are vibrant, alive and fun. You know, when the "joint is jumping!" You can sense that the spirit of the organization is vital and healthy and that people feel pride in their work. Everyone builds on each other's successes, a positive can do attitude is infectious and the glow of success is shared. What's more, this positive energy is appreciated and celebrated so it deepens and lasts.
4 Generic Questions to start the process:
Typical Project Start-up
Why it works
More tools and resources are found at: http://appreciativeinquiry.cwru.edu/