Appreciative Inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry

The Appreciative Inquiry process…

Appreciative inquiry is about the positive and affirmative stories, memories and images that we have of ourselves, of others, and of our relationships. Appreciative inquiry assumes that in any organization or relationship there have been times when great things were happening.

Appreciative inquiry builds on these successes to create a more successful future. This simple philosophical shift of focusing on the positive and the possible rather than the problematic, reawaken peoples’ passion and enthusiasm for their tasks and for each other.

Appreciative inquiry is a high-energy process with the potential for long-term, sustainable results. We provide an overview of the AI steps and philosophy. AI has been used for many organisational development initiatives; team building, diversity initiatives, envisioning, and much more.

Prepare to experience the power of possibilities through appreciative inquiry.

1. AI – Definition – Positive point of Focus Step

Define the area of positive focus and inquiry. Is it for real team building, enhancing interpersonal skills, High Voltage leadership development, or something else? The area chosen becomes the basis for the remaining four steps of the inquiry.

3. AI – Dream

Based on the stories and examples of positive past experiences, people begin to dream and envision new possibilities for the future. By grounding the AI Drem process in the realities of the Successful Positive Past from the discovery phase, people now view their dreams and hope as more attainable. During the dream phase, peoples’ images for the future are first represented metaphorically.  Then, the dream may be formalized as verbal macro-level provocative propositions. They are provocative in that while based in reality, they are a stretch from the organization’s present state.

5. AI – Destiny

In the destiny phase, the results of the dream provide the vision and guidance for everyday actions. Also, the processes, structures, and relationships from the design phase are put into action. Momentum for change and long-term sustainability increased the more we abandoned ‘delivery’ ideas of action planning, monitoring progress, and building implementation strategies. In the most exciting cases, businesses focused primarily on giving AI away to everyone, and then stepping back. The destiny phase also provides a time where the organization can look for ways to improve and expand the AI process.

Benefits and Results

By focusing on the positive, AI can improve employee morale, increase communication and productivity, and increase the involvement of various stakeholders. AI increases people’s passions and sense of responsibility and people have reason to once again be hopeful; hopeful that the future is bright and that they can make a direct impact on that future.

2. AI – Discovery

The AI discovery phase provides the opportunity for people to share their best past positive experiences and their energizing stories. Stories are the core of our identity. they reveal how we view ourselves.The appreciative inquiry interview experience provides an opportunity to recall times when we have been excelled and enjoyed it. From these positive past stories, teams share, discover and consolidate the organization’s “life-giving forces”, the values, believes, experiences, memories and ideas that draw it’s people together. This phase begins to shift the typical conversations away from the problem-focus and toward the broader positive focus on possibilities. AI is about more than just the positive and the possibilities. AI is also about people’s wishes, hopes and dreams for a better future. By asking people for their wishes, hopes, expectations and dreams, they can express their negative thoughts and emotions in a positive way without fear of retribution.

4. AI – Design

Whereas the images and the macro-level propositions of the dream phase address the vision of the group, the detailed, micro-level provocative propositions address the day-to-day realities of working together. The micro-level propositions address various aspects such as leadership, culture, business processes & systems and shape them to align the dream with daily activities. Here are various aspects of creating the social architecture that you may want to examine:

  • How should we work and play together?
  • What are the leadership roles and functions, preferred behavior?
  • Who and how does the agenda get created?
  • What should be our relationship to the community?
  • How can we best support each other?
  • What are the practices for continual improvement and rejuvenation, for bringing out the best in people, and for creating meaningful work?
  • What should the spirit in the group be like? What support does the group need? Who else should be invited?