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Appreciative Inquiry. A Positive Approach to Change. "Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." Chief Seattle - 1854.

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appreciative inquiry


A Positive Approach to Change

"Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

Chief Seattle - 1854

david cooperrider
Original theory and vision for AI while he was professor at the Weatherhead School of Management (along with Suresh Srivastva, 1987)

AI is about creating a positive revolution in change

Professor Robert Quinn, in his acclaimed book Change the World concludes that AI is currently revolutionizing the field of organizational development

David Cooperrider
new realities
Problems are often the result of our own perspectives and perceptions

If we look at a certain priority as a problem, then we tend to constrain our ability to effectively address the priority

Knowledge is the new currency

Whole systems can change

New Realities
ai process
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a process for engaging people across the system in renewal, change and focused performance. AI Process
ai process7
A proven benefit of the approach is its reliance on the acknowledgement of contribution at the individual level, which leads to trust and organizational alignment.AI Process
ai process8
The method creates meaning by drawing from stories of concrete successes and lends itself to cross-industrial social activities.AI Process
why conduct a climate survey
(Sample organizational Vision)

We are committed to building a workplace that supports employees, customers, and owners in reaching their aspirations.

Why conduct a climate survey?

Perceived Need Identification of Problem

Analysis of Causes

Analysis of Possible Solutions

Acton Planning

Context=A Problem to be


Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciating the Best of What Is

Envisioning What Might Be

Designing What Should Be

Delivering What Will Be

Context = A Mystery to be Uncovered

problem based approach
Process is inherently slow, limiting

Focuses attention on yesterday

Creates defensiveness, lack of honesty

Promotes vocabulary of human deficit

Often leads to fatigue rather than sustained effort

Problem-Based Approach
ai one goal
AI: One Goal

Discovering the root cause of success

ai two laws
AI: Two Laws

1. What you seek is what you find.

2. Where you believe you are going is where you will end up.

ai three principles
AI: Three Principles

1. Change starts the minute you begin asking questions

2. Positive images of self lead to positive action

3. Negative images of self lead to negative action

the ai change process
The AI Change Process






ai change process
Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a 4-stage process focusing on:

DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.

DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.

DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.

DELIVER (or CREATE): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

AI Change Process
affirmative topic choice
Set conversations in affirmative terms.

Provoke bold ideas on 4-5 topics.

Demonstrate an authentic desire to learn, discover, grow.

Evoke dialogue about desired future.

Affirmative Topic Choice
selecting affirmative topics
Based on your review of the climate study findings, what things, if changed, would move your organization closer to becoming an ideal organization in which to work?

(State these things in the present tense)

Selecting Affirmative Topics
ai interview protocol

High Point / Peak Experience

Things Valued Most About…

Core Factor that Gives Life to Organization

Images of Future Possibility

AI Interview Protocol
typical decision points
What topics to select?

Who is involved?

How many appreciative interviews?

How do we want to engage people in the dream and design phases?

Typical Decision Points
David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney (2005) Appreciative Inquiry: a positive revolution in change

Theodore Kinni, The Art of Appreciative Inquiry, The Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for Business Leaders Newsletter, September 22, 2003. (2)

Marge Mohoric, Ph.D., Organizational Development Practice

dialogue philosophical context
Martin Buber places dialogue in a central position in his philosophy: he sees dialogue as an effective means of on-going communication rather than as a purposive attempt to reach some conclusion or to express some viewpoint(s).

David Bohm originated a related form of Dialogue where a group of people talk together in order to explore their assumptions of thinking, meaning, communication, and social effects. This group consists of ten to thirty people who meet for a few hours regularly or a few continuous days. Dialoguers agree to leave behind debate tactics that attempt to convince and, instead, talk from their own experience on subjects that are improvised on the spot.

Dialogue: Philosophical Context